Pondering Dish's Viewing Metrics

AMC programming apparently doesn't suck that much anymore, according to Dish Network. Dish finally did a carriage deal with AMC Networks, as well as settling its long ongoing issue with HD-channel service Voom. Both AMC and Voom are companies born from Cablevision Systems Corp.

Why? Some $700 million is headed to AMC and Cablevision in an apparent victory, with AMC’s carriage of Dish part of the deal. It should be noted that all this comes on the heels of a whopping 11 million viewers for AMC's "The Walking Dead" recently.

 So Charles Ergen, chairman of Dish Network, in the next quarterly earnings go-around, might have to revise his commentary on AMC Here is Ergen, by way of BTIG Research media analyst Rich Greenfield, in Dish’s second quarter 2012 earnings call: “Simply put, with the exception of a few original series from AMC, all four channels significantly underperformed with our Dish subscribers. In a year where we took no price increase, we are laser-like focused on controlling our ever-escalating programming costs.”



Ergen went on to say, “We have data, real data, from our customers. And for whatever reason, our customers don’t watch some of those critically acclaimed channels..." We are guessing this is not traditional Nielsen compiled data -- but perhaps some revealing set-top box data.

For clarity -- and for the sake of building its argument -- it would be good to see what that viewing data looks like. If AMC's "Walking Dead" is part of "... a few original series from AMC," then we not only would like to know these details but perhaps what those other shows are as well.

Again, here is Ergen from that earnings call earlier this year: "Strictly, really, an economic decision for us, that we think makes a lot of sense long-term and we think the payback on that is relatively short.”

We'd love to go down the list of any and all viewership numbers and other research from all cable networks, perhaps the top 200, that Dish looks at -- perhaps one's specific customers in terms of location, needs, shopping trends, and passions.  Is that what is important here?

For many multichannel TV distributors, we guess all this will never be publicly disclosed -- it's their secret negotiating sauce. And why should they disclose the info? Many of these companies can't be classified as old-style "utility" companies any more. Consumers have lot of TV and video programming choices

But perhaps those multichannel TV distributor executives could give more insight to their customers -- in terms of viewership or whatever -- when a Fox, MTV, AMC, Tribune Broadcasting TV station or another programmer goes dark.

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