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AMC Offering Free 'Breaking Bad' Streams to Dish Subscribers

12 Jul, 2012 By: Erik Gruenwedel

As fee disputes between cable, satellite and telecommunication operators and content holders proliferate, AMC July 12 said it is offering Dish Network subscribers free streaming access to the premiere of the final season of award-winning series “Breaking Bad,” as it counters the satellite operator’s recent decision to drop the premium TV channel.

AMC is offering the live stream of “Breaking Bad” to all authenticated Dish subscribers who register at www.amctv.com/breakingbad4dish, beginning July 13.

“Every cable, phone and satellite company other than Dish carries AMC and its popular programming, including ‘Breaking Bad,’ ‘The Walking Dead’ and ‘Mad Men,’ in their basic package,” AMC said in a statement. “AMC wants its loyal Dish viewers to experience the excitement of the ‘Breaking Bad’ premiere at the same time as their friends and neighbors, and we want to give Dish customers an extra week to switch providers so they can enjoy the rest of the season.”

“Breaking Bad” stars three-time Emmy winner for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series, Bryan Cranston (Walt White), and 2010 Emmy winner for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series, Aaron Paul (Jesse Pinkman), as a high school chemistry teacher diagnosed with cancer and his former student who become drug dealers in New Mexico.

AMC is owned and operated by AMC Networks Inc. and its sister networks include IFC, Sundance Channel and WE tv.

Dish in June dropped AMC, alleging the network didn’t reverse what it characterized as an “excessive rate increase” going forward. The satellite operator said AMC Networks’ requirement that it carry lower-rated channels like IFC and WE to access a few popular shows didn’t justify the additional carriage fees.

AMC responded by airing TV spots targeting Dish subscribers directly warning they were about to lose the programming.

The move marked another turn in Dish’s contentious relationship with AMC over programming costs, carriage fees and the rise in subscription video-on-demand services like Netflix and Hulu Plus.

Dish, with 14 million subscribers, is the third-largest pay-TV channel operator in the country behind Comcast and Time Warner Cable. In its marketing, Dish says it is the only multichannel video programming distributor to not raise its rates to subscribers in 2012.

“A significant portion of any pay-TV bill goes to fees for content providers like AMC,” said Dave Shull, SVP of programming at Dish. “The math is simple: it's not a good value for our customers.”

Meanwhile, Viacom, which is embroiled in a similar contractual impasse with DirecTV, prohibited DirecTV subscribers streaming access to its networks such as MTV, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central.

Viacom, which yanked 17 channels from DirecTV during the carriage fee dispute, included online access after DirecTV told its 20 million subs they could stream programs such as “Jersey Shore” and “The Daily Show” from the Web.

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