In the past, carriage disputes between cable networks on the one hand and satellite and cable distributors on the other have eventually ended in victory for the content producers and an increase in monthly fees for cable subscribers. That may no longer be the case. Last month Viacom was reportedly forced to throw in the towel in its battle with DirecTV after the satellite distributor drew a line in the sand and insisted that it would not increase its payments, especially not when Viacom's cable networks were experiencing falling ratings. Now it appears that DirecTV's principal rival, DISH Network, is taking a similar stance vis a vis AMC. On Wednesday, DISH Chairman Charlie Ergen said that most of its subscribers haven't even noticed the disappearance of the channel from DISH's lineup. As reported by Broadcasting & Cable magazine, Ergen told analysts during a conference call, "Our customers are not looking at zombies in New York City" -- a reference to AMC's The Walking Dead -- "They live on farms and ranches." (DISH has little penetration in some major cities where tall buildings block satellite reception or where apartment regulations prohibit mounting satellite dishes on rooftops or walls, but it is particularly strong in rural areas that are not served by cable systems.)

09/08/2012