AMC Networks, Time Warner Cable Continue Carriage Deal Renewal Talks

 

AMC Networks and Time Warner Cable are continuing to discuss a carriage deal renewal for the former's IFC and WE tv cable channels ahead of a year-end deadline.

"Negotiations are ongoing," a Time Warner Cable spokeswoman said. She and AMC Networks didn't comment on the state of the talks, but sources predicted they would go down to the wire.

TW Cable currently has the right to carry IFC, home to such shows as Fred Armisen's Portlandia and The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret, and WE tv, which airs Braxton Family Values, until the start of 2013.

The flagship AMC network, home of Mad Men and The Walking Dead, is not part of the discussions since TW Cable has a separate carriage deal for it.

TW Cable CEO Glenn Britt has taken a tougher stance against cable networks. He said at a recent investor conference that the second-largest U.S. cable firm could drop underperforming networks or push them to different tiers. He has also emphasized that it will push back against carriage fee increases it deems as too high.

The company recently decided to drop arts and music channel Ovation at year's end.

AMC Networks, led by CEO Josh Sapan, has recently struck new carriage deals with Verizon's FiOS TV, AT&T's U-Verse and satellite TV giant Dish Network. The latter deal only came after a long legal battle and Dish's decision to drop the AMC channels as of mid-year.

Sapan and Wall Street analysts have said that AMC Networks has upside to carriage fee revenues as it continues to push original content.

"We continue to view AMC Networks as the best idea in media," Davenport & Co. analyst Michael Morris wrote recently. "Consensus estimates under-appreciate the affiliate and ad revenue growth opportunity at the company."

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com
Twitter: @georgszalai
 

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