AMC Sics Its Viewers on Dish

By Published on .

AMC is offering Dish subscribers prizes for the best short videos about losing shows like "Breaking Bad," "The Walking Dead" and "Mad Men" during the companies' prolonged carriage dispute.

The "Hey Dish, Where's My AMC?" promotion offers a grand prize winner $4,000 in cash, a Canon camera and a meeting to discuss his or her work with AMC's senior VP of production. The top video will also appear across AMC's social-media feeds.

It's just the latest effort by AMC Networks to enlist consumers in its standoff. Last week AMC sent a pack of zombies to New York to protest Dish ahead of the new "Walking Dead" season in October. "Zombies don't belong here," reads the text at the end of the resulting YouTube video, as a zombie drags a dismantled Dish satellite. "Put them back on TV." The clip has accumulated more than 4.6 million views.

The blackout of AMC's networks -- which aside from the namesake channel also includes IFC, Sundance and WeTV -- started July 1, when the contract between the companies expired.

Dish Network has argued that low ratings and the availability of shows such as "Mad Men" on streaming video services such as Netflix have devalued the channel's content. But AMC believes the impasse has more to do with a court battle between the companies dating back to 2008.

The case involves the now-defunct Voom HD, a subsidiary of Rainbow Media, a predecessor to AMC Networks. Dish had terminated its carriage contract, arguing that viewership was low. Voom filed suit, seeking damages of more than $2.5 billion. The case is set to go to trial Sept. 18.

Viacom, which recently settled a carriage dispute with DirecTV, also appealed to viewers, in its case with a video parodying DirecTV commercials.

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