AMC Network Now In Major Trouble, Streaming Numbers Are A Disaster
AMC+ has lost 300,000 subscribers, while at the same time ad revenue continues to climb.
It appears that AMC Networks is going through some growing pains, but ongoing restructuring efforts look promising, according to The Hollywood Reporter. AMC lost 300,000 subscribers to land at a total of 11.5 million subscribers; overall revenue and profit exceeded Wall Street expectations when their stock jumped over 14 percent in today’s pre-market trading. In other words, it’s pretty common to see an initial dip in engagement and profitability when a company is expanding, and that doesn’t necessarily mean AMC is taking a step backward in its growth initiatives.
Additionally, ad revenue is also down to $161 million, which is a 20 percent drop that AMC saw at the close of 2023’s first fiscal quarter. But in a way, this drop was anticipated and does not show us the full long-term picture in the grand scheme of things. This revenue drop was attributed to a number of factors, including overall linear ratings declines, a particularly soft advertising market, and a decrease in original programming during this period of time.
But AMC CFO Patrick O’Connell has gone on record stating that the company expects to generate free cash flow of up to $90 million for 2023. Though AMC went through a period of over-investing which included restructuring their domestic operating strategy, as well as the impairment charges that came along with acquiring properties through licensing deals for their content slate, it’s been stated that the network has broken past the phase of peak content investment.
So although AMC Networks went through a period of over-investment, much like Paramount is currently doing, O’Connell says that the upswing in revenue and profit will justify these growth efforts, and satisfy shareholders.
One of the key strategies at the behest of AMC CEO Kristin Dolan is to continue to “evolve the business for a new world” with initiatives that will heavily rely on user data. One such initiative is to make sure that AMC’s original content slate is not only exclusively tied to their own networks, but distributed as broadly as possible in a way that would allow users to watch the shows they want when they want to watch them. Having a distribution model that spans across linear television networks in addition to their own streaming platforms will ensure that their native content has a wider reach, while still maintaining a strong brand identity.
Dolan is well aware of the shifting landscape of media consumption, and how engaging fans during these phases is critical to the growth of AMC Networks as a whole. Through cost-cutting efforts, and streamlining the organization, she is determined to continue to increase free cash flow while maintaining a healthy balance sheet. Additionally, it’s speculated that later this year, we will see an ad-supported subscription tier for AMC+, which will only help in bolstering the bottom line.
Though there have been bumps in the road in the form of layoffs, restructuring, and over-investing, it seems that Dolan, and AMC Networks as a whole, are ready to hit the ground running in their efforts to create a superior overall user experience. Not only will AMC further solidify their branding for their original properties, like Mayfair Witches, and The Walking Dead: Dead City, but a widened slate of licensed properties will also be instrumental in growing their user base across their IFC, Sundance TV, Acorn TV, and Shudder brands.
In other words, it doesn’t seem like we have to worry about the future of AMC Networks, considering how much legwork has already been put into their restructuring and acquisition efforts. It all looks good on paper, but in the meantime, we’ll just have to wait and see if these plans come to fruition as intended.