It would be funny if it didn’t inconvenience so many of the satellite company’s subscribers. Last night, Dish sent AMC Networks’ viewers scrambling to find AMC, WEtv, and IFC as tensions between the companies intensified. The No. 2 satellite company moved AMC from channel 130 to 9609 (for standard definition) and 9610 (for HD), WeTV from 128 to 9608, and IFC from 393 to 9607. Dish said it did so in response to an AMC ad on Mad Men urging the satellite company’s customers to “tell Dish they can’t drop AMC” — something Dish says it will do at the end of this month when the current carriage contract expires. AMC also promoted a website, keepamc.com, to rally its fans. Dish says that the new positions better reflect the channels’ ratings. HDNet now occupies the channel position that AMC had. WeTV has been replaced by Style. And people tuning in to IFC’s old channel will find Indieplex, a movie channel. Dish dropped Sundance Channel entirely on May 20. “We regret AMC has chosen to involve our viewers,” Dish says. “We continue to negotiate and hope we can reach a resolution.” Dish says that AMC’s channels don’t attract enough viewers to justify the cost, especially since many shows including old episodes of Mad Men are available on Netflix. But AMC says that’s a canard: Dish is really trying to pressure the company to drop a $2.8B breach of contract suit involving the VOOM HD channels. To retaliate, “Dish is punishing its customers” by making it hard “to find and watch some of the most popular and acclaimed shows on television.” The case is scheduled to go to trial September 18.
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