Run, DISH Network (NASDAQ:DISH), run! The zombies are at your door! Or at the very least, they're mocking you.
The latest salvo in a months-long distribution dispute between Dish and AMC Entertainment (NASDAQ:AMCX) made its way to the Internets this week, and it's a clever mashup of scenes from The Walking Dead, the cable TV hit derived from the hot-selling comic book series of the same name:
If the spot resonates, it's because viewers have taken to the series at an astounding rate. March's epic Season 2 finale, which featured an attacking zombie herd and a new character that keeps "walkers" as pets (yes, you read that right), set a new cable TV record with 9 million viewers.
Season 3 of The Walking Dead premieres on Sunday, Oct. 14. Meanwhile, a contest that promises the winner a trip to the set of season 4 is now live at the show's official website, and a social game based on the series is attracting 930,000 monthly active users on Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), AppData reports . All signs point to more zombies in our televised future.
Meanwhile, in July, the comic book series briefly knocked both Walt Disney's (NYSE:DIS) Marvel Comics and Time Warner's (NYSE:TWX) DC Comics from their perches as the industry's top two sellers. The Walking Dead #100 sold some 335,000 copies, nearly doubling the sales of the next two titles combined, according to data supplied by The Comics Chronicles.
And that's bad news for DISH, whose spat with AMC dates back to June, and then before that with a 2008 lawsuit over DISH's decision to drop an AMC subsidiary from its programming menu. Neither side shows signs of budging.
Will sending in the zombies help AMC gain an edge in the fight? I think so, if only because another AMC hit, Breaking Bad, has thrived without DISH distributing the drama. According to Entertainment Weekly, the show's eight-episode summer run drew in an average of 56% more viewers.
Fool contributor Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team and the Motley Fool Supernova Odyssey I mission. He owned shares of Time Warner and Walt Disney at the time of publication. Check out Tim's web home, portfolio holdings, and Foolish writings, or connect with him on Google+ or Twitter, where he goes by @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader.
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