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CEO Matt Blank Says AMC Has No Plans For Ads on SVOD Services

Matt Blank
AMC interim CEO Matt Blank (Image credit: CuriosityStream)

After Netflix and The Walt Disney Co. announced plans to create ad supported version of their subscription video services, AMC Networks told analysts and investors that wasn’t part of its plan.

We have no current plans for an ad-supported tier  but obviously, this is something we] continue to monitor,” interim CEO Matt Blank said during the company’s first-quarter earnings call on Thursday.

“It’s funny when you hear other large players have some problems in their sub growth, all of a sudden an ad tier is going to solve all problems,” Blank said. “We don't necessarily think that, that's true. But, you know, we'll monitor the market and we'll see what happens “

Blank added that while AMC is happy with its current offerings “if the business changes, we also think we have the ability to be very nimble and to adapt quickly.”

AMC has a string of ad-supported FAST channels as well as its linear business, not to mention a robust set of advanced advertising capabilities. 

AMC announced that its targeted streaming services now have 9.5 million subscribers among them, up from more than 9 million at the end of 2021. The company reiterated that it is on track to meet its prediction that it will have between 20 million and 25 million by 2025 and be halfway there by the end of the year.

CFO Christina Spade said AMC expected to add about 400,000 subscribers in the second quarter. But in response to analyst questions, she said there could be sources of growth not included in that estimate.

“We will have international expansion, relative to new markets, that aren't in our base right now,” she said. “We also have HiDive, which we recently just purchased, that we believe has significant opportunities for more growth there. That's really not in the pacing yet.”

She added that AMC is seeing churn improvements that could also result in more net subscribers.

Blank added that AMC was not planning to ramp up spending on programming to get more subscribers. He noted that some shows, like Better Call Saul, were in their final seasons and that makes producing them expensive.

Better Call Saul and other shows will be replaced by shows that cost less because they are newer. 

Spade noted that AMC’s strategy is to keep more of its own programming on its own platforms. The company will be launching multiple series based on the books by Ann Rice.

“We will have exclusivity with the Anne Rice content. So more and more over the long term. Our strategy is that we will get away from licensing. We have to honor our legacy deals, but we're going to get away from the licensing for IP that we own And so the only place you'll be able to see a lot of this IP on the longer-term side will be on AMC Plus,” she said. ■

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.