In order to give time to DISH Network customers who’ve seen their AMC Networks coverage dropped to switch to other satellite TV providers, AMC will be streaming this Sunday’s premiere of the critically-acclaimed drama Breaking Bad online, so that customers will not miss the start of the season. Loyal Breaking Bad viewers have been up in arms about DISH’s refusal to come to terms with AMC Networks; now they have a place to watch the premiere. It is a one-time only event: it can be streamed here on Sunday at the normal viewing time of 10pm Eastern.
The website allowing DISH Network customers to stream the premiere also gives AMC’s side of the story on why they have been dropped. Every other major cable, phone and satellite company other than DISH carries the AMC Networks, including DISH’s main rival, the well-regarded DIRECTV.
While it is likely that DISH and AMC will come to an agreement—these things usually wind up being negotiated within the month, as is expected between DIRECTV and Viacom, who are also in dispute right now—offering this popular show for free is a good move by AMC; it will appeal to loyal AMC viewers and make news as well. Breaking Bad is not the most popular show on television, but it does have a loyal cult of viewers who, more than likely, would be willing to switch providers because of this one show, or resort to downloading or streaming the show illegally. And neither DISH nor AMC wants viewers streaming this popular show illegally.
It’s hard to say which side is in the right here, and which is in the wrong, but by providing the first episode of the fifth season of Breaking Bad online for DISH customers, AMC is already winning the public relations battle.