Telus sues AMC over threatened shutdown in contract dispute

Reuters

By Alastair Sharp

TORONTO, Oct 15 (Reuters) - Canadian telecom company TelusCorp is suing AMC to stop the maker of hit televisionshows "Mad Men" and "Breaking Bad" from withholding its contentby the end of the month as it pushes for higher fees, a legalfiling showed.

In the complaint, dated Oct. 11 and filed in a New Yorkcourt, Telus said AMC is using strong-arm tactics to renegotiateterms of a long-standing deal, and that, contrary to AMC'sclaims, it has never breached the terms of that deal.

The Western Canada-focused company, which had about 750,000television subscribers at the end of June, said that AMC haditself breached the agreement between the two parties, byattempting to terminate it without proper notice orjustification.

AMC said it does not comment on pending litigation.

AMC, owned by AMC Networks, is riding a wave ofpopularity for several of its shows and is seeking to increasethe amount it charges TV distributors to carry them.

Its cult zombie horror series, "The Walking Dead," drew itslargest ever audience last weekend, with 16.1 million peoplewatching the series premiere of one of America's most popular TVshows.

The company last month won an Emmy award for best drama for"Breaking Bad," about a meth-dealing high school teacher.

But Telus noted that series has ended its run and "Mad Men,"another popular AMC show about the New York advertising world inthe 1960s, is due to wrap up in early 2015.

Telus said that AMC is "seeking to capitalize on what itrealizes may be fleeting success" and that AMC has no legalstanding to terminate their deal, which was reached in early2010 and runs to the end of 2014.

Telus also sought to stop AMC from broadcasting a scrollingmessage during the "Walking Dead" season premiere for Telussubscribers, telling them the service would soon be cut. Themessage was ultimately not used.

AMC earlier this year reached a multi-year deal withCanada's Rogers Communications Inc, a Telus rival,after using similarly public pressure tactics.

The filing is Telus Communications Company vs American MovieClassics IV Holding Corp and Hibernia Media Llc, case number13-CIV-7227.

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