Monday, February 25, 2013

Walking Dead viewers threatened with losing AMC on major Canadian cable service

I'm not much of an Oscars fan, so instead I spent last night catching up with The Walking Dead. If you did too (or if you recorded it for later), and you are a Canadian Rogers Cable customer, you will have noticed the frequent distraction of a text crawl in which the cable company apparently threatens to drop AMC from its cable package.

The text crawl and Facebook ads (above) target fans of AMC's best series, such as The Walking Dead,  Mad Men, and Breaking Bad. They lead to a web site called that asks viewers to fill in a form to let Rogers know they don't want to lose the service.

Just what the hell are is going on? On Rogers Community Forums, one poster explains:
Every once in a while, cable networks renegotiate contracts with the providers. When the negotiations do not go thier way, they try to rile up the customers as leverage to get more out of the cable company. if the cable company pays more than is comfortable, the price of our service goes up. To be fair to everyone, we should also write AMC that they would be losing customers as well if they try to drive our prices up. I believe that a solid performer like AMC deserves more money for the quality original programming they produce, but not if it will hit the customers pocketbook. So, Rogers is not dropping the channel, it is more likely that they refused the first demand put on the table. 
In other words, it's AMC's tactic to get Rogers subscribers to get up-in-arms to keep the network no matter how much it costs. And it worked:

All over social media, Rogers subscribers are threatening to drop the service if it loses AMC. Considering that these shows are eventually available on Netflix and various (and often unofficial) online channels, this is a very dangerous place for Rogers to be. But although they have broadcast their case, Rogers social media managers seem to be failing to respond one-on-one to these customer concerns, which is somewhat of a fail.

Network Vs. Carrier, with customer anxiety used as a weapon. This won't reflect well on either side, in the end.


  1. You watch the Walking Dead? Seriously? I mean seriously seriously.. Do you watch the Vampire Diaries too?

    1. No, I don't. But The Walking Dead is great TV.

  2. The fact that you like that retarded zombie show explains the quality of your posts.

    1. Is that the best you've got? You really need some new material.

  3. Hi Tom, this is Mary with Rogers Social Media team.

    Came across your blog and appreciate that you picked up on our Twitter statement. Thanks for that. These types of negotiations with our programming partners are a normal and important part of our efforts to keep costs down and to provide our customers with the best TV and entertainment programming at reasonable rates. As you noted, we have no intention of dropping AMC.

    To your point about responding to customers, just wanted to let you know that we do typically respond to all direct questions/comments. In this particular case, we opted to post messages via Facebook and Twitter so that we could quickly update those who were looking for information. Still, we did also try and respond directly to those who had a specific question. We aren't perfect, but we did our best. We've also posted to our RedBoard blog where customers can post comments,

    We do expect a positive outcome :)If you have any questions or would like to chat further, feel free to reach out to me on Twitter @RogersMary.

  4. This is Chris, a colleague of Mary's at Rogers, with good news to share:

    We’re pleased that we’ve reached an agreement that ensures our customers can continue to enjoy all of the great programming in the AMC line-up. And they’ll be able to watch original AMC programs in HD format as early as end of March, as well as across multiple screens shortly after the TV debut - something we know our customers have been asking for.

    We shared more details on our Redboard blog here: