“Walking Dead” and “Mad Men” are television shows that air on the AMC Network (Nasdaq: AMCX). But they could easily describe the network itself right now.
Shares of the TV stock have been getting crushed in recent weeks as digital cable provider Dish Network (Nasdaq: DISH) has decided to cut the popular network from its TV service. The move will take effect this Saturday. AMC shares have been dropping all week in anticipation of getting the ax.
The TV stock has declined nearly 8% since last Friday morning. Since May 3, AMC — a small-cap stock — is down more than 21%.
Dish isn’t the only television provider dropping AMC from its channel listings. AT&T’s (NYSE: T) TV service is also dropping AMC. Combined, Dish and AT&T have about 18 million subscribers.
So that’s a lot of viewers AMC is suddenly losing. Given the success and critical acclaim of shows such as “Mad Men,” “The Walking Dead” and “Breaking Bad”, it seems shocking that any cable provider would drop the network.
But for all the accolades and awards AMC’s shows have received, those accomplishments haven’t always translated to high ratings. According to Nielsen, the network averaged a rather pedestrian 1.2 million prime-time viewers this season – well behind the likes of the USA Network (3 million viewers) and the Disney Channel (2.3 million viewers).
AMC’s troubles won’t begin on Saturday, however. Dish Network already dropped AMC’s sibling Sundance channel. It also plans to drop IFC and WE TV – two more AMC subsidiaries.
With those channels disappearing from so many TV sets this weekend, AMC is about to take a major hit. The stock’s precipitous fall is far from over.