Dish Sends AMC To TV Siberia As Punishment For Its Carriage Controversy Commercial
Commercials can have a big effect on how people feel about their cable, satellite or teleco system -- at least according to Dish Network.
AMC Networks wanted to alert 15 million Dish viewers that its AMC, IFC and WE TV channels might be removed from the satellite service by the end of June as a byproduct of the carriage dispute between the two companies.
AMC tried to inform Dish viewers of this fact through a commercial on its own networks -- which ran over Dish. No surprise that this didn’t sit well with the folks at Dish. As a consequence, it banished the AMC networks to the hinterlands -- sky-high channel positions numbered 9607 through 9610.
In the digital age, consumers don’t think about numbers in accessing premium TV or video. Subscription video-on-demand services like Netflix and Hulu level the playing field for everyone.
In the 1990s, broadcast and cable networks regularly tried to compete for lowered number channel slots, where research said TV consumers gravitated. Much of this channel theory still is relevant.
On the Internet -- and in the digital space overall (including video-on-demand) -- this strategy is of no importance. With no real remote control, consumers have other tools: brand-name video destinations and search engines, for example.
Currently, it is still hard to find less-watched cable networks easily on cable, satellite and telco systems that have hundreds of channels. Yes search tools and electronic program guides can be used. But many still find their way by surfing among more commonly viewed cable networks and stumbling upon something.
Dish’s punishment of AMC wasn’t as severe as it could have been. It has reserved the ultimate slap -- a total blackout of the channel -- an action that is becoming more common.
In this regard—even at those higher channel positions -- AMC can still offer its criticisms of Dish via commercials on its own network programming feeds. Of course fewer people will see this messaging.
If TV viewers had, say, a keyboard for their traditional TV viewing – as well as access to some kind of easier viewing guide search tool, or Internet-like web browser – much of this wouldn’t matter.
But traditional TV habits die hard and that works in Dish’s favor. Still, fervent AMC viewers on Dish will no doubt be angry.
The future doesn’t look much better. DirecTV Chief Executive Officer Michael White says we can expect more blackouts – temporary and longer-term – because of ever-higher program costs for TV/video services.
And no doubt there will be more commercials trying to convince TV consumers what is and isn’t fair.