NCTC still in talks with AMC as New Years deadline passes

The National Cable TV Cooperative (NCTC) and AMC executives are still negotiating a new carriage agreement, with a New Year's deadline passing without a blackout. 

"Negotiations on a new distribution agreement between AMC Networks and NCTC are continuing," said AMC, in a statement released on Dec. 31.

NCTC has not yet responded to FierceCable's inquiry for comment.

Last week, NCTC CEO Rich Fickle told Deadline Hollywood that a deal by New Year's Day was "unlikely" because "our portion of the industry can't sustain this type of model" with AMC's "extreme conditions."

The programmer remains locked in a tense battle with the NCTC and the more than 700 cable systems it represents. 

AMC has experienced significant growth in audience and brand profile since it negotiated its last deal with NCTC systems, thanks to hit series on its flagship AMC channel including The Walking Dead, as well as the now-culminated Breaking Bad and Mad Men.

NCTC member cable systems say that AMC is looking for fee increases of as much as 400 percent, in some cases. The programmer's new proposed deal would include digital rights, but also force operators to put AMC's full fleet of networks — which also include IFC, Sundance TV, WEtv and BBC America — on their basic tiers. 

Bob Gessner, president of NCTC member MSO MCTV, which touts around 47,000 Ohio customers, told Multichannel News that adding the AMC channels to the company's most popular programming tier could consume as many as three QAM streams.

"It doesn't matter where you put them, if you have to add five HD networks, that could knock out 12 MHz out of a 750 MHz plant," Gessner said. "If it's just for WeTV and BBC News, it's not worth the trade-off."

For more:
- read this Deadline Hollywood story
- read this Multichannel News story

Related articles:
Alaska's GCI won't carry AMC or Univision in 2016 because of fee hikes
AMC Networks targets skinny bundles in carriage fight with the NCTC
Shentel says AMC is looking for 379% fee increase from NCTC operators

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