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AMC’s Personal Zombie Apocalypse Set to End in 2025?

The Walking Dead
(Image credit: AMC)

At least for another four years, selling ads on linear cable against spinoff iterations of The Walking Dead, a zombie apocalypse series launched 11 years ago, will remain the leading revenue source for AMC Networks. 

In 2025, the media company told its investors Friday during its first-quarter earnings call, OTT revenue from its various subscription video-on-demand platforms will finally surpass affiliate coin, with subscriber ranks swelling as high as 25 million at that time. 

Like a railroad spike to the ol’ cranium, this transition is either good news or bad news, depending on whether you root for the “walking dead” portion of AMC’s business model, creeping along with returns diminishing, right along with the pay TV ecosystem. AMC Networks posted a 6% decline in Q1 revenue to $691.7 million, surpassing analyst consensus forecast but missing its own guidance, due in large part to a 7% decline in advertising coin. 

On the other side of AMC’s narrative are a hearty lot of SVOD survivors—AMC+, Acorn TV, Shudder, Sundance Now and ALLBLK—who carry the potential for a redemptive future. AMC said these platforms are on track to collectively serve 9 million subscribers by the end of 2021. (That is, of course, if the media company hasn't gotten itself gobbled up alive by a larger, acquisitions-hungry conglomerate.)

Streaming revenue was up 14% in the quarter. 

“Streaming is now the most significant growth area across our company,” said CEO Josh Sapan,

In the backdrop is AMC’s original content, which it said is back into full production after pandemic-caused stall-out. 

Long gone are the days when AMC established itself with groundbreaking original shows like Breaking Bad, Mad Men and the original The Walking Dead

For the first time ever, AMC COO Ed Carroll boasted, AMC will have three Walking Dead (acronym: TWD) shows in production: the original The Walking Dead, which is finally winding down, Fear the Walking Dead and The Walking Dead: The World Beyond.