AMC Networks Negotiation Updates

UPDATE 5/3/21:

Pioneer Connect and AMC Networks have reached a tentative agreement to keep AMC, BBC America, We TV and IFC available on EZVideo.

UPDATE 5/1/21:

An agreement with AMC Corporation has not been reached and negotiations will continue next week. At this time, AMC, BBC America, WE tv, and IFC will continue to be available through the weekend.

APRIL 27, 2021

Pioneer Connect Statement Regarding AMC Corporation Negotiations

Dear Member,

Pioneer Connect is currently in negotiations with AMC Networks to renew our agreement to continue to offer AMC, BBC America, WE tv, and IFC to our membership.

As your local TV provider, Pioneer Connect believes you deserve access to these channels, and we work hard to keep TV prices as low as possible for our members. But there’s no denying that programming itself is expensive and rises every year. Those costs are set by multibillion-dollar TV corporations like AMC Networks, which is currently holding hundreds of small, independent cooperatives like Pioneer hostage over significant rate increases that would be passed on to subscribers. While we understand that the cost of business can escalate over time, it is our policy to reject vastly increased network fees on behalf of our members.

We work diligently to keep these prices as low as possible while offering our TV subscribers a wide array of programming choices. This becomes more difficult when popular media companies like AMC Networks demand price increases that are eight times the rate of inflation. Their goal is to leverage the popularity of their family of channels listed above to raise costs for their programming at an unreasonable rate that would directly impact monthly bills. When, in reality, AMC viewership has declined by half in the last 4 years and their signature show, The Walking Dead, is in its final season.

We have been working in good faith to reach a mutual agreement that would allow us to keep the AMC family of cable channels and minimize member affecting increases. However, if an agreement is not reached by 11:59 PM on Friday, April 30Pioneer Connect may be required to remove these channels from your TV lineup until negotiations are complete. 

Please understand that discontinuing any of these channels temporarily or permanently is not our wish and will only occur as a last resort should all other negotiations fail. If this should happen, know that we will continue to work toward an amicable solution for our members to reinstate the channels as quickly as possible at the best available rate.

Who does this affect?

EZVideo Essentials and Extra Subscribers

How much is the increase?

AMC Networks has demanded a fee increase eight times higher than the inflation for a package of programming that includes networks that have steadily declined in popularity. This increase is excessive based on their networks’ ratings and what the average American household budget can afford. They are also using the perceived strength one network – AMC – to push for higher rates and the addition of some of their less-popular channels, such as WE tv, BBC America and IFC. Rest assured that we are on your side and are working to keep these networks on the air. 

Why won’t you just pay what they are asking?

As a small, local business, we can thrive only when we deliver the best possible value for you from all of our services. AMC knows that any cost increase is generally passed on to the member, so if they were concerned about their viewers’ best interests, they would charge a reasonable rate associated with the audience each network draws. They would also allow TV Providers like us the ability to choose which of their networks our members want on their lineup, instead of forcing us to take ALL of their less-popular networks. 

What is a contract renewal?

Cable network agreements renew every 3-5 years and they have threatened to deny us the right to retransmit their signal on our television system unless we pay an exorbitant price increase, with zero room for negotiation.

What about rates – don’t we pay enough already?

Keeping your rate as low as possible is our ultimate goal, and there is no way we can accomplish this by paying the exorbitant increase in fees that the network stations are demanding.

Why shouldn’t I switch to satellite or another cable provider?

We are a local employer, and we are committed to providing the community with local member service. We have offices in the communities we serve where you can still speak to a real person, and 24-hour member service support. Over 700 rural cable and satellite providers are also undergoing negotiations with AMC Networks as well.

Will I receive an account credit if these channels are lost?

As your TV provider, we have the right to change our channel lineup at any time; however, we only do so if it’s in the best interests of our members. In this instance, if we are unable to negotiate a fair and reasonable agreement with AMC Networks, channels may be removed from our lineup until that fair and reasonable agreement is made. We will make every attempt to avoid this, but if we do remove a channel, credit will not be provided as we do not charge for specific channels, but rather the service and associated channel lineup package.