Fans of ‘The Walking Dead’ might find it a little more difficult to watch their favorite show on DIRECTV, after a breakdown in contract negotiations cast doubt of future co-operation between DIRECTV and AMC.
AMC, which makes ‘The Walking Dead’, ‘Mad Men’ and a host of other popular shows, has yet to renew contract terms with DIRECTV, following the expiration of the current agreement. Now, with both parties playing hardball in the early stages of negotiation, there is some concern that a resolution could take some time.
DIRECTV provides satellite connections across the US, broadcasting a huge range of shows on up to 280 associated channels. AMC, responsible for some of the most notable network shows in the country, is expected to reach some agreement for the continuation of the contract, albeit on terms that remain as yet unsettled.
DIRECTV seems similarly certain of a positive resolution, but neither side has as yet declared their hand publicly. The fear of negative PR is running high on both sides, and both are positioning to blame the other in the event that things don’t go to plan.
At the heart of negotiations is the cost per subscriber paid by DIRECTV for carrying AMC content. The Walking Dead regularly commands two-thirds of the total DIRECTV audience, and AMC may feel this is enough clout to demand a better deal. But industry analysts have forecast the cost per subscriber as of last year to be in the order of $0.35 per month – more than double the average, of $0.14. The suggestion is that AMC are holding out for an even more significant slice of the pie.
The stand off between AMC and DIRECTV is becoming an increasingly regular feature of negotiations between networks and providers, as companies vie for the most in-demand content at the best possible rates. While it is widely expected that the two will come to a settled arrangement, there is still far from certainty over its return, with AMC recently declaring themselves “a $0.75 channel”.
While the dispute has cast doubt over the future of The Walking Dead on DIRECTV services, DIRECTV have been quick to reassure fans that they can still enjoy the current season, with several more months of the current contract still remaining. Analysts are even suggesting that these public negotiating positions are in contrast to a closed-doors mutual understanding that the tie up is beneficial, although these public disclosures are no doubt a sign that negotiations are heating up.
So is The Walking Dead a dead show walking? For DIRECTV subscribers, the answer is probably no. But it remains to be seen how the two can resolve the outstanding disputes, which have clearly escalated with public announcements on both sides. As the current season draws eventually to its close, all eyes will turn to the negotiating table, to see whether the relationship can continue for future seasons.