If I was one of the millions of paying customers to Dish Network, I'd be spitting mad in wake of the satellite cable provider's decision to drop AMC Networks from its lineup starting on July 1st.
The reason behind the move is somewhat complex but of course boils down to money. For the "end user," the customer, it really doesn't matter. Dish customers expect to be provided with advertising-supported basic cable channels, as they have every right to be.
And, importantly, AMC is arguably the best television network currently. Of course you could make an argument that premium cable networks HBO and Showtime are in the conversation, but with a lineup that includes Mad Men, Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead, and (yes, even) The Killing, AMC has a brand that garners enormous respect and the growing audience that comes with it – particularly in the case of The Walking Dead, which is slated to air its third season this autumn.
I have no doubt that executives at Dish Network feel that they are making a smart business decision to drop AMC Networks (which includes AMC as well as rising hipster power IFC and reality-centric We).
But I'm here to say that it's an extremely short-sighted move, as business decisions can tend to be.
The thing is that the television industry is going through a revolution right now along the same lines that has happened and is happening to the music and newspaper/content industries.
As Mad Men's Roger Sterling might say, "We want what we want." People want to have the option to buy one song versus buying an entire album (or even renting or streaming it or listening for free with an advertising accompanying it in some form). The same goes for an article or two in a newspaper stuffed with countless items (and ads) that any given person isn't interested in at all.
The last great bastion of this form of content "bundling" comes in the form of the often egregious rates that people pay to access dozens or hundreds of television channels that will never be watched, never be browsed, never be surfed.
Thus the birth of the "cord cutting" movement, renegade consumers who are pulling out of paying expensive rates month after month and are instead piecing together an a la carte content menu in which desired individual shows and episodes are culled from the likes of Hulu, Xbox 360, iTunes, Amazon Prime, Boxee, Netflix, Roku, and even YouTube.
Ironically, this movement will cause companies like Dish to attempt to squeeze more money out of networks now before the walls come crumbling down.
But the truth is that the walls are crumbling down. Roger Sterling and the rest of us will get what we want, and sooner than most people realize.
There's a reason after all that all of those companies I mention above (and more) are gunning for those who wake up, Matrix-style, and realize that there is a future where we're not at the mercy of bundled TV content providers.