AMC Added 400,000 Subs to SVOD Services

AMC Networks said it has added 400,000 subscribers to its collection of targeted subscription VOD services so far this year.

Speaking on the company’s second-quarter earnings call with analysts Wednesday, CEO Josh Sapan said the company is on target to end the year “comfortably ahead of two million subscribers.”

The AMC SVOD services are Shudder, Sundance Now, Acorn TV and Urban Movie Channel.

“We anticipate crossing the three-and-a-half to four million cum sub-threshold by 2022 and by 2024 we anticipate between five to seven million targeted SVOD subscribers and in excess of half a billion dollars in revenue from these four services,” Sapan said.

Unlike the large-scale streaming services being launched by the larger media companies. AMC’s SVOD services are targeted to serve fans of specific genres, such as horror or British television.

“We've been focused on creating and growing targeted special-interest SVOD services,” Sapan said. “While the mega caps compete in the general interest arena, we believe there's a very significant opportunity for us with specialty SVOD services that offer a new way to serve fans and we believe that the market for these types of services will continue to grow.”

Sapan said AMC has spent five year investing in data, platforms and programming to develop in-house SVOD competencies.

The majority of AMC’s SVOD viewers subscribed directly on its own platform. By having its own tech stack, AMC is able to understand the needs of its consumers in real time and reduce churn.

“We’ve seen success in creating engaging services with relative modest content and marketing investment,” Sapan said.

And while most of AMC subscribers are now in the U.S., the overseas opportunity “is very significant for us over time.

AMC Networks has also been investing and developing its own advanced advertising technology, including its proprietary targeting tool called Aurora.

“Year to date, we’ve tripled our targeted audience ad sales,” Sapan said.

Aurora has also figured into AMC’s upfront, according to COO Ed Carroll.

“I think very much Aurora is part of our upfront conversations and very much it helps with the pricing, or the CPM part of that conversation,” Carroll said.

Rather than bringing in new advertisers, Carroll said AMC’s advanced advertising hyper-targeting capabilities have led to advertisers making bigger commitments at higher prices, particularly in categories including autos, movie studios and pharmaceuticals.

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.