AMC holds The Walking Dead ransom in dispute with DirecTV

directv dispute with amc results in walking dead held ransom the season 5 cast shot
If you’re a DirecTV subscriber and a fan of The Walking Dead, you may have noticed alerts during the Sunday, November 2 episode indicating the show may no longer be available by the end of the year.

The contract between DirecTV and AMC, a popular network with shows like Mad Men, Breaking Bad spin-off Better Call Saul, and, of course, the ratings-crushing The Walking Dead, is set to expire by 2015. And the network and distributor have yet to come to a desirable agreement to extend that partnership, leaving viewers potentially zombie-less by the end of the year. What’s more, DirecTV has dropped AMC in Latin America, fueling the battle between the two – AMC argues the move is in breach of the existing agreement.

“DirecTV has not engaged in meaningful negotiations with us,” said AMC in a statement, “which leaves us to doubt whether a timely renewal is possible.”

It goes to show the tremendous power of a TV show. The Walking Dead has twice snagged more ratings than Sunday Night Football, including the latest episode that raked in an impressive 14.5 million viewers and gained a 7.6 rating among the all-important 18-49 demographic. That’s a pretty powerful bargaining chip for AMC to use. Especially when you consider that, if talks are not successful, DirecTV customers would lose access to The Walking Dead halfway through its current season. The season pauses November 30, goes on hiatus for the holidays, then resumes in February. Nothing would enrage a die-hard fan more than not being able to pick back up come February 2015. And AMC knows this.

The situation is reminiscent of a few years ago, when AMC protested with zombies on the streets of New York City after DISH Network dropped the channel from its lineup. In 2012, DirecTV was in a similar situation with Viacom after a licensing dispute left customers without popular channels like Comedy Central, MTV, VH1, and Spike. Eventually, Viacom was reported to receive about $600 million per year from DirectTV for carrying its 26 channels.

If this dispute isn’t resolved in time, fans may need to turn to the Internet to get their fix and bide their time. Options for watching The Walking Dead online include Vudu, iTunes, M-Go, Playstation Entertainment Network, Google Play, and Xbox Live (all à la carte at $2/episode), or from Amazon Prime Instant video at $2/episode or $27 for a season pass that will net you all of season 5.

On the AMC Website, a pop-up message appears warning DirecTV customers that they may soon lose access to their favorite series. “Tell DirecTV,” it urges, “you don’t want to lose AMC.”

Home Theater

Bowers & Wilkins’ upgraded 600 Series speakers hit stores

Bowers & Wilkins has revamped its entry-level speaker lineup, borrowing some goodness from the company's flagship 800 Series speakers, which brings a more refined sound signature while keeping impressively low price points. What's not to…
Home Theater

DirecTV Now: Everything you need to know

If you’re looking to ditch your cable or satellite subscription, DirecTV Now could be the perfect service for you. Our comprehensive guide breaks the service down feature by feature so you can see if it's right for you.
Home Theater

Dish Network or DirecTV: Which is the better choice for you?

So, you’ve chosen to go with a satellite television provider. Check out our quick rundown of what both Dish Network and DirecTV offer in terms of content, hardware, and pricing, and why you might choose them over streaming services.
Movies & TV

September brings 'The Dragon Prince,' an animated war series, to Netflix

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Home Theater

PlayStation Vue: The master guide to Sony’s internet TV service

PlayStation Vue is Sony's answer to live TV without the need for a cable or satellite TV subscription. To help you understand the service, its plans, and numerous features, we've created this handy guide.
Movies & TV

2018 Emmy Awards winners: The night of ‘Mrs. Maisel’ and diversity

The 2018 Primetime Emmy Awards, hosted by Colin Jost and Michael Che, was full of laughs and drama, as well as some surprises. Here is the full list of nominees, winners, and highlights from the show.
Home Theater

The B-Sharp turntable proves high-end audio can become a family heirloom

European Audio Team's B-Sharp turntable offers high-end buyers gorgeous sound and an astonishing build quality, making it a fantastic choice for those who are looking for a lifelong addition to their audio arsenal.
Home Theater

Thanks to Dish Network, you can now watch live TV on American Airlines flights

Are you headed on a cross-country flight but don’t want to miss any of the fall TV premieres? Dish Network and American Airlines have partnered to bring 12 live TV channels to 100 aircraft, with plans for that number to jump to 700 in…
Home Theater

Want to save your favorite film? Here's how to fix a scratched DVD or CD

A scratched edition of your favorite DVD is no good, but our guide will show you how to fix a scratched DVD, whether you prefer to repair it using a smattering of peanut butter or Mr. Clean's Magic Eraser.
Home Theater

TV calibration 101: Here's how to tune up the picture of your new TV

You’ve got your new TV out of the box, but now what? Our TV picture adjustment guide takes you through the simple steps to get the best picture from your brand new TV so you can set it and forget it.
Movies & TV

More photos from 'It: Chapter Two' bring more Pennywise (and nightmare fuel)

A second film based on Stephen King's novel It hits theaters in September 2019. Here's everything we know about It: Chapter 2, which is set 27 years after the events of 2017's box-office blockbuster, It.
Deals

Cyber Monday 2018: When it takes place and where to find the best deals

Cyber Monday is still a ways off, but it's never too early to start planning ahead. With so many different deals to choose from during one of the biggest shopping holidays of the year, going in with a little know-how makes all the…
Movies & TV

‘Black Panther’ director Ryan Coogler gets assist on LeBron James’ ‘Space Jam 2’

LeBron James has brought on Black Panther director Ryan Coogler to produce his upcoming Space Jam sequel, with Terence Nance attached to direct the film. Space Jam 2 is expected to begin production in 2019.
Product Review

The Sony UBP-X700 brings your 4K TV to life, without draining your savings

If you're after the best possible picture for your 4K TV, you're going to need a disc player. With a compact form factor, extremely easy setup, and great picture and sound quality, the Sony UBP-X700 may be just the ticket.