BACKGROUND: Working in digital for AMC and SundanceTV for more than a decade, Mac McKean credits his successes to collaborations between network programmers and show creators and targeting an enthusiastic audience that embraces new experiences. He says he thrives in digital media’s fast-paced environment, “where the hardware and software are constantly changing and changing the terms.” Earlier, he was a digital executive for iVillage and helped launch an online startup, elance.com, after starting out as a journalist in Tokyo.
2017 HIGHLIGHTS: McKean’s team’s experimentation included AMC’s inaugural virtual reality experience, AMC VR. The network collaborated with the Walking Dead creative team to shoot bonus content, extending the story and spotlighting the new technology. “It was exclusive and uses the medium to a purpose, not just promotionally,” McKean notes. “It helped you get more out of the episode.” For SundanceTV, McKean’s team launched serialized digital short stories and content supporting Rectify and Hap and Leonard. AMC also launched the on-demand AMC Premiere offering on Comcast’s Xfinity and YouTubeTV and looks to expand to other OTT services. AMC won an Emmy for the short-form web series “Los Pollos Hermanos Employee Training,” pegged to Better Call Saul.
WHAT’S AHEAD: AMC will add more originals and exclusive content to AMC Premiere, including extended episodes of The Walking Dead. An entire season of new series McMafia will be available for binge viewing on the SVOD offering. “It is a new experience for us and a new way of thinking for us,” McKean notes. AMC also plans to expand in online gaming, building on successful mobile launches “The Walking Dead: No Man’s Land” and “Into the Badlands Blade Battle.” This year will see its first virtual reality game with “Knightfall,” a location-based game produced by Lucky Hammers and published by Starbreeze.
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