Dish Network dishes out free Roku 2 boxes due to AMC spat

Breaking Bad Season 5

Detailed extensively on Pocketables earlier today, Dish Network is sending out the Roku 2 XD set-top box to any Dish subscriber that called up customer service to complain about the loss of AMC Networks. Dish Network removed AMC, IFC and We TV channels from the satellite TV channel lineup due to expensive rates and low ratings. Representatives for AMC claim that Dish Network didn’t want to come to the negotiation table and that ratings have been stellar on programming like The Walking Dead and Mad Men.

Roku-2-XDPrior to the removal of AMC Networks, Dish Network relocated all the AMC channels in the lineup in order to dissuade people from watching commercials encouraging subscribers to call up Dish Network in order to save the stations. The AMC channel was available in approximately 96 million households, but the total number of households is reduced by 14 million with the loss of Dish Network. AMC was also in a contract negotiation with AT&T earlier this month, but reached an agreement on July 2 to preserve the AMC Networks channels on AT&T’s U-verse TV service.

With the upcoming launch of season five of Breaking Bad on July 15, Dish Network subscribers have been calling up to complain about the lack of AMC in the channel lineup. According to John Freml’s account on Pocketables, he called the customer service number and choose an automated option to cancel his account. After being transferred to the retention department, he complained about the loss of AMC and brought up a competitor’s package. The customer service representative immediately offered a free Roku 2 XD  with HDMI cable in addition to a $10-a-month discount for one year. The representative encouraged Freml to use the savings to purchase new episodes of Breaking Bad through the Amazon’s Instant Video application on the Roku set-top box. However, Freml warns others that the offer of the Roku 2 XD may depend on the current subscription package and how much that it worth to Dish Network.

Viacom DirecTV SpatDirecTV customers are about to be in a similar situation at midnight Eastern time on Wednesday. According to a report from the New York Times today, DirecTV and Viacom are currently embroiled in a contract renegotiation and DirecTV customers may lose the ability to watch Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, VH1, CMT, Spike and TV Land.

Basically, twenty million households will be without these stations tomorrow morning if a new deal isn’t struck tonight. According to an account on the official Viacom blog, the company claims that one in five DirecTV customers is watching a Viacom station at any given time and Nickelodeon is the most popular network on DirecTV due to the amount of children’s programming on the channel.

Compared to Dish Network, DirecTV will have to be more creative with offers from the company’s retention department tomorrow. Viacom did sign a deal with Netflix for Nickelodeon content and popular Comedy Central shows like The Daily Show and The Colbert Report can be found on Hulu Plus. In any case, the customer service department at DirecTV will likely be extremely busy tomorrow if Viacom is pulled from the satellite TV channel lineup.