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AT&T Threatens To Drop Rainbow Services

AT&T U-verse subscribers may miss the upcoming season of Mad Men as the telco is set to drop AMC and several other Rainbow Programming-owned services next week over a contract dispute.
AT&T is threatening to pull Rainbow services AMC, WE TV and IFC if a carriage deal isn't completed by July 14. On July 9, the distributor began informing its more than 2 million subscribers about the potential move through a set-top box message.

AT&T director of communications Dawn Benton said that the telco is open to negotiating with Rainbow and extended an initial July 1 contract expiration date with the programmer to July 14 in an effort to try to reach an agreement.
"We're willing to continue to work toward reaching a fair agreement but frankly we seem to be an impasse with Rainbow," she said. "We want to reach a fair deal with Rainbow that reflects our growing subscriber base and reflects the appropriate value of Rainbow content."
A Rainbow spokesperson called AT&T's potential action "troubling." The move could keep AT&T subs from watching the July 25 premiere of popular AMC drama series Mad Men, which yesterday was nominated for 17 primetime Emmy Awards.

"AT&T is acting in an aggressive manner that puts their corporate interests ahead of their customers," said the spokesperson. "We are negotiating in good faith with AT&T and are hopeful that we can reach an agreement as soon as possible so that our viewers don't lose out."
The network has set up a website as well as a call in number, 1-877-9-KEEP ON, for AT&T subscribers to "demand better service" from the telco.

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.