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AMC Networks, NCTC Strike New Cable Carriage Deal

AMC Networks and the National Cable Television Cooperative struck a deal that will keep cable networks like AMC, BBC America and IFC available via the set-top boxes of thousands of rural subscribers.

Terms of the pact could not be immediately learned.  The two parties extended a negotiating deadline and kept AMC programming available while they worked out terms of a new agreement that is expected to last more than five years, according to a person familiar with the situation.

“We appreciate AMC Networks’ willingness to take the time to understand our members’ unique challenges and concerns, and their creativity to construct an agreement that addresses the concerns of many of our members,” said Judy Meyka, NCTC’ s executive vice president of programming, in a prepared statement.  “AMC Networks has made a significant investment in the programming on their networks and we are pleased that our members have the option to continue offering this programming to their customers.”

The Lenexa, Kan.-based NCTC  represents about 850 small cable operators covering about 12 million subscribers, although only a portion of NCTC member companies were involved in the AMC Networks talks.

At issue in the talks was subscriber fees for some of AMC’s cable outlets, according to a person familiar with the talks. AMC and NCTC last completed a pact in 2010. At that time, AMC did not operate BBC America or BBC World News, and its flagship program, the zombie-apocalypse drama “The Walking Dead,” was not the cultural phenomenon it was today. Despite investments made in programming and a few outsize hits like “Dead” or “Better Call Saul,” AMC is believed to command per-subscriber fees that are significantly lower than those won by competitors such as USA Network, TNT and FX.

“We are pleased to have reached a new distribution agreement with NCTC,” said Bob Broussard, AMC Networks’ president of network sales, in a statement.  “We have enjoyed a long and successful partnership with NCTC and we look forward to continuing to provide our popular and acclaimed programming to NCTC members and their customers.”

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