After Tumultuous Day for AMC Networks, What Changes Can Its AMC+, Shudder, Acorn, ALLBLK Subscribers Expect?
All is not well at AMC Networks. On Nov. 29, company CEO Christina Spade announced that she would be stepping down from the position, which she only took in September. Her departure marks the third CEO to come and go from AMC in the past 15 months.
In a memo to employees, AMC chairman James Dolan noted that the company has seen big losses in subscribers to its linear TV networks. The company was hoping that its various streaming services — including AMC+, Acorn TV, ALLBLK, Shudder, and Sundance Now — would help make up for the losses, but so far that hope has not come to fruition.
“As I am sure you are aware our industry has been under pressure from growing subscriber losses. This is primarily due to ‘cord cutting.’ At the same time we have seen the rise of direct to consumer streaming apps including our own AMC+,” Dolan said in the memo. “It was our belief that cord cutting losses would be offset by gains in streaming. This has not been the case. We are primarily a content company and the mechanisms for the monetization of content are in disarray.”
Dolan then explained that he has directed executive leadership to begin “significant cutbacks” in operations at the company. Those cuts will include general layoffs of up to 20% of the company’s employees, as well as a reduction in budgets for streaming operations. Despite having several standalone services, AMC added just 300K streaming subscribers in the third quarter of 2022, bringing its total across all of its direct-to-consumer (DTC) platforms to 11.1 million.
Those cuts indicate that meaningful changes will be coming to AMC’s streaming services soon. One thing that AMC could do quickly to increase adoption is merge all of its streaming content onto a single service that it can charge more money for, especially since many of its services offer niche content. Programming from Shudder, Sundance Now, and some Acorn TV programming can already be found on AMC+, but no ALLBLK content is currently available on that service.
While the company might lose some customers who are only interested in the programming from one of the services, by putting them all under one roof, they have the opportunity to increase their ARPU (average revenue per user) by giving consumers that are already engaging with their titles more viewing options.
If the company feels that it needs to make more drastic moves, it could sell off the rights to the content on its streaming services as well. CNBC reports that NBCUniversal has had an eye on AMC, and would potentially like to buy some of its content to bundle with Peacock. With some of the best shows in cable history, AMC’s library would likely be a valuable asset for streamers looking to load up on familiar, bingeable programming to keep customers interested in their service.
There is no word yet on how the announced budgetary cutbacks will affect the planned introduction of AMC+ to European markets in 2023. Such rollouts can be expensive to orchestrate, so there’s no guarantee that those plans will go forward while the company is trying to save money.
Whether the changes at AMC reflect a stabilizing period or the beginning of a massive collapse is yet to be determined, but linear subscribers — as well as users of the company’s various streaming services — should expect noticeable differences in their experience in the not-so-distant future.
AMC+ is a premium streaming bundle that includes the best from AMC, BBC America, IFC, SundanceTV, Shudder, Sundance Now, and IFC Films Unlimited containing original, award-winning series, popular movies, festival favorites, plus horror, sci-fi, true crime, and thrillers. You can subscribe to AMC+ for $8.99 / month or save with the annual plan for $83.88 / year.
If you are a Prime Video subscriber, subscribing through that platform allows you to watch either in Prime Video or on the AMC+ app.