Back in 2014, AMC was in the midst of contract negotiations with DirecTV, and the cable network wasn’t getting the deal they wanted.
Normally, this sort of thing isn’t a concern for viewers, in this case fans of AMC’s two biggest shows, the ratings gobbling “The Walking Dead” and the award-winning “Mad Men.”
However, the deadline for contract negotiations was rapidly approaching, and that meant that DirecTV might drop AMC from the list of networks they carried.
So AMC went on the offensive, letting “Walking Dead” know that DirecTV may no longer carry their show.
The tactic worked. Doomsday never came to pass. The zombies rejoiced.
While the issue seemed important for “Walking Dead” and “Mad Men” lovers at the time, this warning was not without precedent. There were prior tussles between multichannel video programming distributors and studios before, and there have been ones since.
Meredith Corporation is currently in negotiations with DirecTV and AT&T, and a deadline is approaching. In fact, it’s tomorrow. As of right now, no deal has been made.
For DirecTV and AT&T subscribers in the Upstate, this is of some concern. After all, Meredith owns WHNS Fox Carolina.
Like AMC before them, the Fox Carolina crew wants the word to get out.
In a press statement, the channel said, “By law, cable and satellite companies must negotiate in good faith with television stations before dropping the TV stations’ signals. If AT&T and DirecTV fail to reach an agreement, WHNS’s programming, including local news, NFL, and college football will not be available on AT&T and DirecTV systems as of Sept. 22.”
WHNS Fox Carolina Vice President and General Manager Les Vann also commented, noting that AT&T, the owner of DirecTV, has a new acquisition on the horizon. “AT&T recently purchased DirecTV and is in the midst of buying Time Warner for $85 billion,” Vann said. “WHNS may not be as important to AT&T and DirecTV as it was when AT&T and DirecTV were far smaller. But we believe WHNS is just as important to you, our viewers, no matter how large your cable or satellite company is.”
“Reaching a deal and preventing a blackout is our top priority,” Vann added, before encouraging DirecTV customers to contact the company and its parent. “You can reach DirecTV by calling 1-800-531-1000, and you can reach AT&T by calling 1-800-288-2020 to speak with their customer service.”
According to Vann, WHNS has never been dropped by a multichannel video programming distributor, to the best of the station’s knowledge. “We need to inform our viewers in case AT&T and DirecTV does, so they’re not surprised,” Vann said. “We are ready willing and able to enter into an agreement with them.”