About 105 NCTC cable systems decided to drop AMC Networks channels, despite the overall carriage deal reached between the programmer and cable cooperative back in early January.
The decision by these smaller cable operators means that 350,000 cable TV customers in rural markets don't have access to AMC channels, according to the Wall Street Journal. The AMC flagship channel is host to one of the most popular scripted shows on linear television in The Walking Dead. Other channels in the AMC Networks portfolio include Sundance and IFC.
"We knew that not every one of the 700 members was going to be able to come in," said Bob Broussard, president of distribution at AMC, to WSJ. AMC's new deal with National Cable TV Cooperative operators calls for carriage fees to roughly double over the previous contract.
Meanwhile, the NCTC-repped MSOs who have elected not to renew AMC Networks claim to be feeling no pain, either.
Alaska's General Communications Inc. (GCI), Arkansas' WEHCO and Midwestern operator USA Communications all say video subscriber losses are actually down year-over-year.
"It's been significantly less than what we had anticipated," said Charlotte Dial, VP of administration for WEHCO, to WSJ.
Meanwhile, Grande Communications CEO Jim Holanda called the AMC deal "very fair and middle-of-the-road." But as smaller operators like Texas-based Grande manage a new calculus that now significantly values higher-margin broadband services over video products, he added that for every renewal, "a drop is on the table for us."
"I think that is a new reality," Holanda said.
- read this Wall Street Journal story
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