With so much of the Streaming Wars being dominated by the big names like Netflix, Disney, Apple, Amazon, and WarnerMedia, it’s easy to forget the “little” guys. Such is the case with AMC Networks and its array of subscription services. The media company that owns AMC, IFC, We TV, BBC America, and Sundance TV recently posted less-than-stellar financial data and is now having to rethink its entire company gameplan, with an emphasis on streaming. However, AMC Networks isn’t interested in going up against Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, or any of the other heavy hitters.
Speaking on a recent conference call (via Variety) about the company’s long-term plans, AMC Networks CEO Josh Sapan admitted to some mistakes that the company made previously and how the lessons learned are shaping the future of the company, specifically in regards to streaming.
While revenue could be down for a variety of reasons, including not having a single new episode of “Better Call Saul” debut in 2019 or the waning interest in “The Walking Dead,” it appears that AMC Networks is now going to be focused on keeping its franchises inhouse and delivering quality content to its range of “targeted, hyper-focus SVOD services,” including Acorn TV (focused on British dramas), Shudder (horror and genre fare), Sundance Now (indies), and Urban Movie Channel.
Sapan thinks that in a world with way too many one-size-fits-all streamers, who are focused on attempting to please everyone and anyone with their original content, AMC Networks can hyper-focus on niche markets and develop its own following. In addition, Sapan says that it’s important for the original content that AMC Networks produces, such as “The Walking Dead,” to not get sold off to other streaming services.
This new strategy of keeping original content on AMC’s own platforms will begin with the upcoming third ‘Walking Dead’ series, which is expected to premiere in 2020.
“The series will be used to fuel our own platforms,” Sapan said, considering the other two ‘Walking Dead’ series, as well as most of AMC’s other original content can be found on Netflix, Hulu, and other streamers.
So, if this strategy works for AMC Networks, we could be looking at an alternate path for platforms that are too worried about trying to compete in the arms race that is being waged by the major streaming services. Perhaps in a world where everyone finds it hard to get specific content on Netflix or Hulu, Shudder, AcornTV, and other smaller platforms can thrive by appealing to very niche audiences. We shall see.