Blog Post

Why Breaking Bad didn’t scare Dish, but Walking Dead will

Stay on Top of Enterprise Technology Trends

Get updates impacting your industry from our GigaOm Research Community
Join the Community!

Dish Network (s DISH) clearly isn’t afraid of Albuquerque drug kingpin Walter White. But wait until AMC’s zombies come back in October.

Yes, despite tons of critical praise, Netflix usage and social media buzz, Breaking Bad remains only a niche hit, incapable of producing enough leverage to bring Dish Network back to the negotiating table and end a 16-day-old impasse that has kept AMC Networks (s AMCX) channels off its service.

Also read: AMC to stream Breaking Bad for blacked-out Dish users

Sure, the 2.9 million viewers the show about a crystal meth kingpin averaged for the initial run of its fifth-season premiere Sunday night may have set a series record. And who knows how many more tuned into the live stream AMC set up specifically for refugee Dish subscribers (an inquiry sent to AMC was not responded to).

But put that rating in perspective: That was only 300,000 viewers more than the 2.6 million averaged by Sunday’s debut of Political Animals, which now faces extinction on the top-rated USA Network.

Also read: AMC – “Dish never even talked rates with us”

So when will Dish’s nearly 14 million subscribers finally get AMC, IFC and WE TV back in their homes? Well, Sept. 18 seems like an interesting date to point to — that’s when a court dispute over an unrelated matter, Dish’s dropping of Voom HD channels four years ago, goes to trial.

AMC Networks, and its former corporate parent, Cablevision, (s CV) will go into that litigation with the upper hand. And it’s widely believed that Dish dropped AMC’s channels not because of what it claims are excessive rate increase demands but to gain leverage in litigation that could cost it more than $2.5 billion.

Another key date on the calendar: Oct. 14

On that Sunday, AMC will premiere the third season of The Walking Dead, which has managed to what AMC’s other critical darlings, Mad Men and Breaking Bad, have not — break out into mainstream hit status.

Also read: For Netflix users, “catch-up” TV viewing has a catch

The season two debut of Walking Dead last October averaged a whopping 7.3 million viewers, setting basic-cable records in the adults 18-49 and 25-54 demographics. We suspect Dish will have major subscriber revolt on its hands if AMC isn’t restored by that time.

49 Responses to “Why Breaking Bad didn’t scare Dish, but Walking Dead will”

  1. Ed Swiderski

    I would suggest that EVERY Dish customer call and request a credit on their account for the service they are no longer receiving. Here’s how my conversation went:

    Kelsy (ID: 4OK): Hi, my name is Kelsy (ID: 4OK). How may I help you?
    Kelsy (ID: 4OK): Hello, Ed.
    Ed Swiderski: Will I be able to watch Walking Dead and Hell on Wheels when the new seasons start?
    Kelsy (ID: 4OK): We lost AMC due to contract negotiations on June 30th. We do not expect to get it back.
    Kelsy (ID: 4OK): AMC Networks has further devalued its programming by …
    Ed Swiderski: Last time around this discussion AMC programming was carried on alternate channels, somewhere up in the 1000’s (8000’s maybe?). Are there any plans to do the same?
    Kelsy (ID: 4OK): We moved it during contract negotiations but we have removed them permanently.
    Ed Swiderski: So the answer is no?
    Kelsy (ID: 4OK): Unfortunately yes. You cannot watch with us but you can watch the new seasons online.
    Ed Swiderski: And I’m assuming that you will be lowering my bill to reflect the lower value of content I am receiving?
    Kelsy (ID: 4OK): Let me see what I can do.
    Kelsy (ID: 4OK): One moment.
    Kelsy (ID: 4OK): What I can do is give you $5 off of the bill for the next 12 months.
    Ed Swiderski: I’ll take it.
    Kelsy (ID: 4OK): Alright. Give me one moment to make the adjustment on your account…

  2. AMC had better come back..some of us are die-hard fans of The Walking Dead. And then what of Supernatural? They best get their heads out of you know where or will lose alot of customers

  3. Maybe it’s not Dish to blame! AMC wants more $ which in turn raises your bill. How do you think Dish is able to give the lowest prices. AMC is acting like its all on Dish. Either way I’m going to go crazy without my zombies.

  4. i like zombies movies but this one the walking dead is the best one i ever seen and cents dish took it off the air that sucked great shows should be seen I thing dish better put back amc for october or customers that like this shows and me r going to be mad so the best thing to do is to put amc back on dish list or look for differnt discriber zombies rule

  5. Their going to lose a lot of cust.if they don’t
    Get Amc back soon I know a lot of people
    Who have switched to other networks.they
    Raise our bill but they don’t want their bill for
    Amc raised. put them back on!!

  6. I am so appalled that Dish took it upon themselves to drop 3 good channels. I will be dropping Dish a week before The Walking Dead is scheduled to start. How can I sit back and not watch my zombies every week. I’ve waited a year to see Season 3. Dish, get your act together. We don’t care about your personal issues with AMC. If they are charging more, then why haven’t you dropped our price if you dropped 4 channels. Because you are not telling the truth. Get rid of your CEO and get a new one. The one you have, sucks!

  7. I just switched from direct to dish unaware of the whole dispute going on! I like dish but I am really pissed about AMC!! Please please please for the love of zombies bring back AMC before walking dead comes back on! My whole family LOVES that show and have to see season 3!!!!!!

  8. Zanzibar

    I was luck, as my contract was expired. I switched to DirecTV. I know they all have these tiffs, but this one was is going on too long. Plus, I missed a coiuple of eps of “Sons of Anarchy” when Dish was in a pissin contest with FX. But, I will say, if DirecTV starts this crap on a roautine basis, i’ll toss them too

  9. Faith Lantz

    We’ll be dropping DISH if we don’t get AMC back in time for The Walking Dead, end of story. Actually about 3 weeks before so i know our new service will be installed and ready to go!!!! WE LOVE THE WALKING DEAD!!!!!!!!!! Dish~ Do the right thing!!!!!!!

  10. i complained, enough many different times i ended up getting 15 dollars a month off for the next year and they ended up sending me a ROKU box so i can stream my breaking bad and other episodes from amc. each episode is like $1.99 which dish also gave me an additional $35 credit for the cost of the episodes so i was too upset until they made it somewhat ok with me

  11. Trinnity

    I already ditched Dish. I was unhappy about the rising rates, my contract was up and I gave them the boot. Plus I had to pay to send them back the old equipment. And get this!!! I had a refund coming and called to check on it. I found out that if I had not called and requested my refund, they would KEEP IT.
    Thieves!!! They said “our system doesn’t automatically issue a refund if you are owed money back.”

    Can you believe that???

    • I believe you Trinnity. My Dish remote died a few months ago and they “tried” to make me pay $20 bucks for a replacement!! It wasn’t until I complained that since the equipment is basically rented, I shouldn’t have to pay for a failed remote. They waived the fee but I feel if I hadn’t protested, they would’ve gladly accepted my money.

  12. Oh ya! I have been checking Directv prices and hardware. I want me some zombies. I will give Dish until September 30th to give back my channels. Not just AMC either. Dish will have to sweeten the deal to keep me. After many years of putting up with this same crap with Disney and Voom. I expect more than just AMC. All the AMC and Disney channels they took from us are available in HD from Directv and Comcast. I demand AMC HD, WE HD, IFC HD, Sundance HD,Disney HD, Disney XD HD, ESPNU HD, ABC Family HD. Rates keep going up and Dish has not added any new HD channels in more than 2 years and has actually taken away more HD channels then they have added in the past 5 years. These guys are going backwards. It is 2012 and there is no excuse for all the programm providers not to offer ALL the mainstream HD channels available. For crying out loud, charge me whatever you like but make them available from a single provider. I should not have to have a Dish, Directv and Comcast subscription to get all the HD channels available. This is madness. This is rape. This screams for consumer protection laws to be enforced. When will congress step in and mandate an a la carte system?

  13. I want we back I like that channel what is the problem take stations away but don’t give use more and price doesn’t change please.bring back we

  14. azcorey

    I will tell you this. If Dish Network does not bring back AMC so I can watch “The Walking Dead” I WILL be dropping Dish!!!! I KNOW I will not be the only consumer to do so. When I signed up for my TV package with DIsh AMC was a channel listed I would be getting…….. I don’t care how much it costs them. Sounds like a “Breach of contract” to me.

    • Big Mike

      Yes I will be dropping DISH about 10 days before The Walking Dead begins, While I have had good service from DISH I would like to know …How come my Bill didnt go down when they dropped 4 channels? that ought to be at least 20 bucks a month I bet if you call them they couldnt give the same answer twice but I bet you could get some free movies if your nice…..AND BY THE WAY ZOMBIES RULE

    • What state do u live in? Where I live (northwest GA) Comcast is awesome tv never goes out and the internet is fast an dependable I hear alot of people say comcast sucks but I’ve tried dish,at&t and direct tv and neither can compare to Comcast price wise or service