AMC Isn’t Down With OTT

NEW YORK — AMC Networks CEO Josh Sapan said the home of The Walking Dead won’t be offering its own over-the-top service, like HBO and CBS.

“We live and thrive and feed off the ecosystems of MVPDs,” Sapan said in a chat with Multichannel News editor in chief Mark Robichaux to open The Content Show, part of Multichannel News parent NewBay Media’s NYC Television Week, last Wednesday (Nov. 12). “Our best preparation is to have the stuff that people want to watch the most. Today, we have no intention of going over the top. We think being in this ecosystem is a wonderful place.”

AMC offers content through streaming services like Netflix and has its own TV app, but has no intentions to go direct-to-consumer a la HBO and CBS, Sapan said. While the landscape is changing as viewers find new ways to view content on their phones, laptops, tablets or TVs, he added, it is still the content providers’ mission to develop “shows and brands that mean an awful lot to the people that like them.”

To that aim, Sapan said AMC invests heavily in programming and in areas that are outside of the traditional content realm, a sort of content farm system. For example, he said AMC has invested in You Tube-like channels, a subscription video-on-demand service for Korean dramas and a documentary SVOD service, with the dual intention of participating in those businesses as well as being where creative people develop content outside of the mainstream.

He added that the top rated show on television — AMC’s The Walking Dead — originated as a comic book written by a Kentuckian who rarely ventured out of the state. “What had been a fairly narrow area of creative opportunity has now busted wide open,” Sapan said.