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Cable Operator Restarts Talks with AMC After Threat of Network Cutoffs Over Streaming Exclusives

Jeff Kotuby

There seems to be a faint, glimmering light at the end of the tunnel regarding the ongoing tiff between TDS Telecom and AMC Networks.

TDS Telecom is at odds with AMC Networks over, what it feels, are unfair business practices for its subscribers. The company announced in a blog post that it would pull AMC Networks — including AMC, BBC America, We TV, BBC World News, IFC, and SundanceTV — as of June 10. However, according to NextTV, that might not be the case.

TDS Telecom is a Madison, WI-based cable provider that serves over 280,000 subscribers in Colorado, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas, and Utah.

The site reached out to TDS Telecom’s director of external affairs and communications, Kit Beyer, who told them via email, “Since TDS notified its customers that it would no longer carry the AMC Network, discussions have restarted with the network, TDS will continue to fight for fair rates and terms for our customers and will strive for a reasonable outcome.”

TDS has qualms with AMC’s shift in original programming, where they are debuting new series on their streaming service AMC Plus instead of the linear network. “TDS does not agree with AMC’s decision to move valued content from live TV distribution to distribution exclusively on their streaming service,” TDS said in a blog post. “Asking cable subscribers to pay more while the AMC Network carves out highly valued content and delivers less to cable subscribers is not fair or reasonable.”

While this situation could ultimately resolve itself, it could also set a dangerous precedent between cable companies and broadcast networks that are interested in starting their own streaming services.

The Walking Dead

October 31, 2010

Sheriff’s deputy Rick Grimes awakens from a coma to find a post-apocalyptic world dominated by flesh-eating zombies. He sets out to find his family and encounters many other survivors along the way.

This is not a unique situation. With streamers like AMC+, Hulu, Peacock, and Discovery+, shows are increasingly showing up on the streaming platforms either exclusively on those platforms or ahead of their linear counterparts.

New seasons of shows like “90 Day Fiance” on Discovery+ or the recently announced “Below Deck Mediterranean” on Peacock, showing up for streaming audiences days or weeks ahead of their linear window may not mean much in the short run, but in the longer run, bigger shows like “The Walking Dead” on AMC+ or perhaps “SEAL Team” on Paramount+ showing up either ahead of their linear windows or exclusively on streaming services, will completely change the landscape when it comes to linear cable and satellite systems renegotiating their contracts with studios and program providers.

Don’t be surprised if some of those cable and satellite providers begin to demand more cash for carriage rights. And if they don’t get them right away, don’t be surprised if some of your favorite channels get pulled offline during those potentially contentious negotiations.

AMC Plus is a premium streaming service available through Apple TV, Amazon Prime Video, Roku, Xfinity, Dish Network, DirecTV, YouTube TV and Sling TV. It includes content from AMC, BBC America, IFC, Sundance TV, Shudder, Sundance Now, and IFC Films Unlimited. It costs $8.99 per month.

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