AMC Networks CEO: Viewers Need Simplified TV Landscape

TV has gotten too confusing, AMC Networks CEO Kristin Dolan said Thursday.

As she detailed the various deals and partnerships “The Walking Dead” parent has and is working on during the company’s fourth quarter conference call, Dolan said the current scattered landscape of cable and various forms of paid and ad-supported streaming needs to simplify.

“Across the industry, we really do need to make things easier and more cost effective for our customers,” Dolan said. “The current environment is confusing, expensive, and essentially forces consumers to recreate the cable bundle on their own at twice the price”

Dolan said the industry needs some “new thinking on bundling and partnerships” along the lines of the deal sports streaming deal announced this week by Disney, Fox and Warner Bros. Discovery.

“I believe this industry will continue to find new approaches that will better serve consumers, distributors and content companies,” Dolan said.

In the meantime, AMC Networks is taking advantage of its vertical integration to strike content and distribution deals with a variety of players, including its recently completed deal to make make the ad-supported version of AMC+ part of multichannel streamer Philo’s basic offering.

“We now have a fully ad-supported distribution ecosystem that includes our five linear networks, several targeted streaming services and programming carriage of approximately 100 channel feeds on partner FAST and CTV platforms,” Dolan told investors and analysts on the call, ticking off reasons it’s important for AMC to be present across the various platforms.

“We’re able to reach viewers and make our content available wherever and however they might choose to watch,” she said, which enables the company to use viewership insights and library management across the platforms expand viewership and engagement in a cost effective way.

She added that working with the various commercial platforms “delivers value and functional benefits that wouldn’t be possible if our presence was limited either to just linear or just streaming.”

“Such deals boost AMC Network’s commercial revenue partnerships and potential for bundling while getting our shows and films in front of our viewers,” Dolan said.

The comments came amid discussion of the fourth quarter results, which saw marginal gains for AMC’s streaming subscribers, but a 30% plunge in revenue, including a 23% in US advertising revenue, even as the company launched its ad-supported streamer.

“It’s early days but we’re very pleased with the response to the ad-supported version of AMC+ and we’ve it have an established runway for growth as more partners add the option this year,” Dolan said.

“We were happy with the results of our content partnership with Max late last year,” she continued. “Our shows performed well on their platform and we saw associated viewership increases on AMC+ as well.”

The company also sees opportunities for international advertising-based video on demand, Chief Commercial Officer Kim Kelleher said during the call.

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