AMC Networks interim CEO Matt Blank said the company has “no plans” for ad-supported tiers of its family of targeted streaming services, including Shudder, Acorn TV and AMC+.
“If the business changes, we believe we have the opportunity to nimble and adapt,” he said during the company’s quarterly conference call with Wall Street analysts.
Blank did not mention Netflix by name, but was asked about AMC Networks, which is exploring cheaper, ad-supported versions of its services, internally forecasting 20 million to 25 million cumulative subscribers by 2025. are on track to reach. Next is the playbook. HBO Max and Disney+, and Netflix co-CEO Reed Hastings blasted last month that the company would finally pursue advertising after years of relentlessly dismissing it. The revelation offered as a ray of hope for investors during the disastrous quarterly report. Netflix posted its first loss of subscribers since 2011 and issued a bleak outlook suggesting that its long-dominant global streaming machine has hit a wall, at least for the time being.
“It’s weird,” said Blanc. “When you hear about another big player in trouble… suddenly an ad level is going to solve all problems. We don’t think that’s true, but we’ll certainly monitor it.”
Analysts also asked about profitability, noting that Netflix’s recent loss of two-thirds of its market value has raised immediate questions about the viability and profitability of the overall streaming business. Stewards of Cablevision, AMC Networks, an exponent of the cable business controlled by the Dolan family, have said that streaming will be a major source of revenue by 2025. Cord-cutting is eroding linear results across the media landscape, and signals whether those traditional customer losses will accelerate in 2022, and with it distribution and advertising revenue.
CFO Christine Spade declined to provide any specific guidance regarding streaming profits, saying the company makes programming decisions with its entire operation in mind. “We’re really looking at the overall monetization cycle,” she said, “and that includes streaming, linear, international distribution and licensing.”
As the company looks to accelerate its streaming operations, “this will continue to build and help to go against the headwinds we’re seeing on the linear side. … We feel very excited about the future as streaming speeds continue.” and the linear condition settles.”
Spade highlights pricing power as an important lever for AMC Networks, which is beginning to phase in price increases on some of its services. The move is based on “what we’re seeing in our content communities,” the exec said. Customers are “loyal to us, they love the content.”
A recent move in favor of the company’s own streaming outlet came when IFC Films shifted its pay-1 window to AMC+. An original film release every Friday night is planned to begin this week with clean, starring Adrien Brody and RZA. Films will either withdraw from theatrical performance after 90 days or, in some cases, the premiere day and date in theaters and on AMC+. (IFC was the day-to-day pioneer in the pre-streaming days of pay-TV on-demand.)
“We have a gem with IFC, in my view,” Spade said. When asked about the impact of the output shift on the overall balance sheet, he replied, “Relative to the profitability mix, it occurs at a size or scale where it has no material impact.” Instead, he said, the goal is “the growth of customers we’ve been able to achieve” for AMC+.
Blank said the company’s “No. 1 objective” is to “get proprietary and compelling programming in front of our streaming customers.”
Because they’re targeted strictly at specific audiences, Spade said, “we’re not trying to be everything to everyone, we’re trying to be everything to anyone.” Yahoo!