AMC takes aim at Dish with new ads

AMC Networks has launched another round of attack ads aimed at Dish, the satellite broadcaster that stopped carrying its cable channels almost two months ago.

The only problem is getting the ads in front of actual Dish subscribers, of which there are about 14 million.

The new ads are running only on AMC, IFC, WE and Sundance -- none of which, of course, are being carried by Dish. While AMC could try to buy advertising on other networks that are available on Dish, those networks probably would be reluctant to run spots that might offend one of their biggest distributors.


So why run the spots at all?

Because AMC wants to reach anyone who might be thinking of switching to Dish. Every month, tens of thousands of consumers switch pay-TV distributors for various reasons including relocation to better prices. AMC wants everyone considering Dish to know that if they sign up they can forget about “Breaking Bad,” “Mad Men” and “The Walking Dead,” three of its biggest hits.

Of course, running ads on its own channels is not AMC’s only option to bad mouth Dish. It also has been using its marketing prowess to email Dish subscribers about what’s going on with its channels as well.

Ratings for AMC are down since losing access to Dish’s subscribers. It is unclear if Dish has suffered an unusually high amount of subscriber defections that can be attributed to no longer carrying AMC and the other channels.

Dish has said the issue has to do with the prices being offered to carry its channels. AMC has countered that the real motivation is a separate legal fight the two companies are engaged in over a breach of contract claim.

Asked via email if Dish would consider running AMC’s attack ads -- after all money is money -- a spokesman for the satellite broadcaster said: “We’re not selling them time.”


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Follow Joe Flint on Twitter @JBFlint.