Satellite TV Locked In Carriage Battles

by , Jul 13, 2012, 11:16 AM
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Breaking-Bad-BEven as “Breaking Bad” is set to debut, AMC Networks investors don’t seem a bit concerned that its carriage dispute with Dish Network could lead to declining ratings. Since AMC channels have gone dark on Dish in early July, the programmer’s share price has increased more than 7% based on midday trading Friday.
 
Dish has some 14 million customers, although AMC and the company’s other networks are not available across the whole footprint.
 
It’s a different story for Dish, where the satellite operator’s share price has declined well over 5% since the blackout. The satcaster has also lost an effort to have a high-profile case regarding its AutoHop feature tried in New York during that time.
 
Meanwhile, Viacom and DirecTV are locked in a dispute that has networks such as Nickelodeon and MTV off the satellite operator. Some Viacom networks could have lost about 20% of their reach.
 
Yet both companies’ share prices have declined modestly as the dispute has moved ahead this week. By one measure, Viacom’s share price has dropped less than 2%, while DirecTV’s is down less than 1%.
 
Dish and DirecTV could lose customers to cable and telco TV operators. So could Time Warner Cable (TWC), which is involved in a third carriage standoff with the Hearst station group. Yet, TWC’s shares are up about 1% since blackouts have gone into place in markets such as Boston, Cincinnati and Kansas City.
 
Part of the reason could be that TWC does not have a large portion of customers affected, as core markets in New York, California and Texas are not impacted. Customers in key areas of North Carolina and Ohio are, as well as in Hawaii.
 
Still, TWC has made arrangements with its impacted Ohio and N.C. stations to keep NBC programming on them by importing out-of-market signals.
 
Hearst is not a public company.

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