It's no coincidence that Dish Network's standoff with AMC is going on at the same time as Viacom's ongoing dispute with DirecTV (see here and here for more background). Both disputes are over money and both have resulted in satellite subscribers getting expected content and channels pulled out of television lineups.
And consumers are starting to bite back.
Dish Network lost 10,000 net subscribers in Q2 2012. The company is trying to spin this as a "victory" as they lost 135,000 during last year's second quarter, but I would think that the loss of AMC – currently airing Breaking Bad's final season (widely hailed as one of the very best shows on television) and with a new season of the breakout cable hit The Walking Dead slated for October – is pushing many savvy TV viewers to look into other options.
And an increasingly appealing option these days is to cut the subscription "cord" entirely.
Meanwhile, the disputes are leading some to believe that cable and satellite provider consolidation may be on the way:
Evercore analyst Bryan Kraft believes the prolonged blackout that has left DirecTV’s 20 million subscribers without MTV, Comedy Central or Nickelodeon for a week, could lead to some industry consolidation.
In a research note out late Wednesday night, the analyst said if content providers Viacom, as well as home of ‘Breaking Bad’,AMC, which was dropped from No. 2 satellite provider Dish Network in July, get the upper hand, it raises the chances of a merger between satellite companies and cable providers.
My sense is that these potential mergers and acquisitions would be made in part to increase their leverage over carriage fees fights in the future.
But this will only prove to alienate more consumers over time, prompting further subscription drops and movement to other means to access desired shows and channels.
You see where I’m going with this, right?