AT&T battles AMC over content fees

AT&T (NYSE: T) is embroiled in a new content fight with AMC Networks (Nasdaq: AMCX), which wants to double the licensing fee to distribute AMC, WE tv and IFC content to U-verse TV subscribers.

While the service provider's contract with AMC expires on June 30, AT&T said it refuses to pay what it sees as an "excessive rate increase." AMC has seen the popularity of original programs such as "Breaking Bad," "Mad Men" and "The Walking."   

"AMC Networks is asking that AT&T pay nearly double what we believe other competitors pay--including a smaller-sized competitors. We believe the rates they are seeking are disproportionate compared to the viewership we see across their channels," AT&T said in a statement.

The service provider pays a licensing fee to AMC to provide IFC and WE tv channels to its U-verse subscribers.

This is not the first time AT&T has battled a content provider over fees, however. In August 2010, the service provider stopped carrying Hallmark channels, for example.

Besides AT&T, AMC is also embroiled in a content fight with satellite provider Dish Networks (Nasdaq: DISH) whose contract will also expire on June 30.

Conflicts between content owners and service providers have continued to erupt in recent years as content providers want higher fees while service providers want to reduce costs to provide content to their respective subscribers.

For more:
 - Reuters has this article
 - here's FierceCable's take

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AT&T pulls plug on Hallmark channels for U-verse subscribers