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Shentel will lose AMC Networks

Posted 22 December 2015 12:00 AM by Shentel

With no alternatives being offered at this time, Shentel expects AMC Networks will pull its channels from Shentel cable lineups as of Dec. 31, 2015.

After months of negotiations, AMC has not made any acceptable changes to their contract proposal. In addition to a 379% rate increase over the life of the contract, AMC is calling for Shentel to carry additional channels and move their less popular channels to a most-watched tier, without any option to only carry channels Shentel customers actually watch.  AMC Networks include AMC, IFC, Sundance, WE and BBC World and BBC America.

Shentel currently carries AMC, WE and IFC and has a separate contract with BBC which does not expire at this time. Shentel plans to reimburse cable customers the cost of the channels being dropped until new programming can be obtained.

“When a programmer like AMC demands an unprecedented increase in its monthly fees, we believe it’s our responsibility to take a stand.  We know that the AMC channel itself has popular programming, but outside those programs the content is weak. When we look at all the time our customers spend watching television, the data shows that WE and IFC do not draw even 1% of the views. And AMC only hits 6% when The Walking Dead is on,” said Chris Kyle, Shentel VP of Industry Relations and Regulatory. “And adding these other weak channels to our lineup would not benefit our customers and it could impact our ability to enhance broadband capacity.”

“We hold out hope that AMC will modify its proposed contract. There are many other independent cable operators who feel as we do.  If nothing changes, however, those channels will go dark in 2016 on Shentel Cable,” said Kyle.

AMC is trying to cash in on the popularity of its show, “The Walking Dead,” which draws strong ratings. However, just because the channel goes dark, does not mean customers can’t watch their favorite zombie killers. New episodes are available on iTunes, Amazon, Vudu, Playstation Store, Xbox Video and Google Play, among others.

“Our goal is to protect our customers from significant programming fee increases,” said Kyle. “We pay networks a fee per channel per month per customer for their channels. When these contracts end, we negotiate new agreements and that concludes that business deal. But when huge companies such as AMC Networks demand an unprecedented increase in its monthly fees, we believe it’s our responsibility to take a stand.”

 

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