MCTV Continues Discussions with AMC Networks for Renewal of Carriage Agreement
AMC Networks Attempts to Alarm Local Customers with Disruptive Messaging During Sunday Night’s Showing of ‘The Walking Dead’
Business negotiations between media giant AMC Networks and local TV provider MCTV went public Sunday night when AMC interrupted home-town viewers’ enjoyment of The Walking Dead with commercials and message crawls telling them they are at risk of losing their favorite AMC Network shows.
MCTV, along with over 700 other small and mid-sized cable operators across the nation, currently is in negotiations with AMC Networks, owner of AMC and WEtv, to continue offering AMC’s channels to their customers. The current contract doesn’t expire until December 31, which means all existing networks and programming will remain available throughout the rest of 2015.
“AMC is actively trying to incite panic among our local viewers; trying to scare them into believing that they are at risk of losing their favorite shows,” explained MCTV President Bob Gessner. “But what AMC failed to convey is the real story behind the crawls they ran in The Walking Dead last Sunday. Our customers are NOT at risk of losing AMC or WEtv prior to the December 31 deadline because AMC Networks must contractually provide the signals through this date.”
“Let’s face it,” Gessner continued, “AMC is trying to scare viewers into helping AMC raise their rates. It’s pretty shameful to abuse your fans in that manner, but that’s the state of big media companies these days.”
Gessner went on to say that “the current proposal from AMC Networks for carriage beyond December 31st includes a significant cost increase, that will ultimately be passed on to all of our customers, as well as a requirement that we add (and pay for) other low rated channels such as BBC World News that none of our customers are requesting and our current research shows no one is watching. AMC is telling us that, in order for us to continue carrying AMC next year, it will require that both of these requirements be met.”
"We are fully prepared to pay a fair price for the AMC programming our customers want, 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," added Gessner. "If they were really concerned about their viewers’ best interests, they would allow flexible carriage and charge a fee that is reasonably associated with the audience they draw.”
MCTV is a member of the National Cable Television Cooperative (NCTC) which represents over 850 independent cable companies across the United States. Members can opt in to have the NCTC negotiate with program providers and others on their behalf, which is currently the case with AMC Networks. By aggregating volume discounts, local TV providers can pass cost savings on to their customer allowing them to compete with larger national competitors. Gessner served on the NCTC Board from 2002 – 2010 and as Chairman of NCTC 2006 - 2008.
MCTV has developed a website, TVOnMySide that offers customers a single portal to find more about disputes and why they happen. It also includes the latest information about the current AMC negotiations as well as a comments section where customers join the conversation. Visit www.TVOnMySide.com for more information.
About MCTV: MCTV “goes the extra smile” for its customers, adding high-touch service to high-tech telecommunications. Since 1965, MCTV’s 160 local employees have been serving their neighbors with a full complement of advanced broadband products for home and business including High-Speed Internet, Digital TV, Phone, television advertising, dedicated fiber optic connections and security systems. More than 47,000 homes and businesses in Stark, Wayne, Summit, Holmes and Tuscarawas Counties rely on MCTV for their telecommunications needs.