AMC Networks

by Jose Blanco

Courtesy of underconsideration.com

Key Exceutives

 

Charles Dolan Executive Chairman
Josh Sapan President & Chief Executive Officer
Ed Carroll Chief Operating Officer
Sean S. Sullivan Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer
Jamie Gallagher Executive Vice President & General Counsel
John P. Giraldo Chief Accounting Officer
Bob Broussard President, AMC Networks Distribution
Rob Doodian Executive Vice President, Human Resources
Ellen Kroner Executive Vice President, Communications & Marketing
Steven Pontillo Executive Vice President & Chief Technology Officer
David Evans Senior Vice President, Broadband
Paul Rehrig Senior Vice President, Business Development

Highest Competitors  

1. Showtime

2. HBO

Corporate Headquarters

AMC Networks Inc.
11 Penn Plaza
New York, NY 10001
Main Phone #: (212) 324-8500

 

Brief Network Description

Previously known as Rainbow Media Holdings (a division of the Cablevision, the American cable television company), AMC Networks [1] is a public entertainment company that focuses on specialty television and independent film production based in New York City. Within their branch of premium cable television channels, AMC Networks focuses on producing original content through their multiple channels (AMC, WE tv, the Sundance Channel, and IFC).  On July 1st of 2011, Cablevision made AMC Networks [1] become a publicly traded company, leaving former Rainbow Media president, Josh Sapan, as President and CEO of AMC Networks. Previously recognized for their airing of classic movies, the company began producing original content in 2007 with the launch of programs such as “Mad Men” in AMC (their most popular channel to which the company was named after).

mad-men.jpg

Courtesy of Zap2it.com

Ever since,  AMC Networks has promoted the creation of high-quality original content in their programming. With hit shows such as “The Walking Dead”, “Mad Men”, and “Breaking Bad”, all of which have received critical acclaim and popular appraisal, AMC Networks has marked its presence in the television industry, especially with through their channel AMC. As their tagline states; “Story matters here.”.

This Year for AMC Networks

Third Quarter 2012 Results

AMC Networks has been seemingly busy this year, given to their known legal dispute [2] with DISH Network early on this summer that led the American cable company to “drop” all of AMC Networks’ programming since this July to early October until the dispute was finalized. A deeper analysis regarding to the  legal dispute and it’s result will continue further along the reading. Given to situations such as the previously stated, the company’s operating income (OI) decreased 8% in its Q3 [3] of this year (in comparison to Q3 of 2011) to a total of $87 million and its AOCF (adjusted operating cash flow) decreased 10.9% to $110 million (Q3 as well). According to AMC Networks’ most recent quarterly report, these blatant decreases in OI and AOCF are due to “ the impact of the litigation and associated carriage dispute with DISH Network.”. Now, OI also decreased due to “flat operating income at national networks and a $9 million increase in the operating loss at International and Other.” Normally when the network refers to its “International and Other” operation, its regarding its independent film production company IFC films, but AMC Networks is currently working on expanding its market on a global scale by opening up markets in Asia, Latin America, Europe, Canada, and Africa. [4]

Regardless of the networks decreasing OI and AOCF, the company has seen a steady increase in net revenues this year by a significant 17% ($332 million by the en of this year’s Q3 ) and an increase of 40% in share value this year (AMCX)[5], a share which is now traded at $52.25.  These revenues, which were off set by their legal disputes, were due to not only the success of their programming but also to their growth in digital and licensing distribution (which is one of the primary reasons for the incitement of their current and past conflicts with cable companies such as DISH Network) through deals with online platforms such as Amazon.com, Netflix, and iTunes. Within their national networks, this led to an increase of 24.3% of revenues to $199 million [3]. Although use of online platforms has increase, Josh Sapan announced at the 40th Annual UBS Global Media and Communications Conference that took place recently on Dec. 4th “Our company has taken a rather more restrained approach on making our shows more accessible online. As a matter of policy its not good for the ecosystem, we chose to very selectively to sell our content.” then adding “We will support it. We will have to carefully manage where our rights go. We are in a position to balance that quite well and we have been compensating it for some time. We will be a good and healthy participant.” while referring to these online platforms [4].

DISH Network and AMC Networks

Now, what is this huge legal mumbo jumbo with DISH Network all about? AMC Networks current strategy consists of profit maximization through affiliate fees [5]. What they do is come up with two to three hit programs (“The Walking Dead”, “Mad Men”, and “Breaking Bad”) which make the channel indispensable to the carrier then fill the rest of the channels programming with inexpensive content such as non-fiction/reality programming (“Comic Book Men”, “Whisker Wars”). As posted in an article by Bill Gurley regarding affiliate fees on Abovethecrowd.com; “How can a cable company not offer “Mad Men”.” And they can’t and AMC knows so. Hence within their contracts they bundle up their other channels and relatively go better off in the contract [5].

dish_logo.jpg

Courtesy of infospace.ischool.syr.edu

“DISH felt that the network had devalued its admittedly popular dramas… by selling them to outlets such as Netflix, iTunes, and Amazon.com” according to an article on fool.com [6]. DISH felt as if they were being cut out and not just that, but AMC was demanding an increase in affiliate fees (which makes sense do to the success of their programs). DISH argued that AMC’s ratings did not meet with their demands.  Given to their disagreements, DISH dropped all programming from AMC Networks in July 2012. But AMC, as well put in fool.com, “won’t be bullied”[6] .

They retaliated by launching ads denouncing DISH’s decision to drop them from programming. With campaigns such as the “Put Zonbies Back” ad that showed footage of people costumed as zombies scrawling through the streets of New York City (in real life) promoting their apocalyptic series “The Walking Dead” and retaliating the carrier’s decision to drop it’s programming.

These campaigns gave way to fan made spoofs and responses that demanded DISH to bring back AMC programming.

They did not stop there. Through their advertising, they gave DISH customers a week to “switch” providers and leave DISH [7].

Many doubted on AMC’s success given that their viewership had decreased 7%-9% in July when compared to 2011, according to the video by the Wall Street Journal [8]. With these decreases in ratings, AMC gave advertisers free time spaces in online streaming trying to push the ratings up.  “You’d be surprised, there’s been a bit of a drop off since the black out started (referring to ratings when DISH dropped AMC)… these are niche products and as a result don’t have the same financial impact.” argued the WSJ [8].

Before the premiere of the third season of “The Walking Dead”, both parties agreed upon a settlement [9]. AMC and Cablevision would receive $700 million and receive a 20% stake with Voom HD, which offers up to 21 channels of HD programming. DISH acquired wireless spectrum licenses that cover up to 45 separate markets.

 

Television Channels

 

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Courtesy of wikemedia.org

A speciality cable television channel that focuses on providing original content such as their hit shows “The Walking Dead”, “Mad Men”, and “Breaking Bad” and airing classic films.

Recent News

People at the WSJ must have been biting their tongues when the “The Walking Dead” premiered on Oct. 14th and received 10.87 million viewers. But the real breakthrough [10]came with the show’s midseason finale that reached 15.2 million viewers on the night of the premiere, a 58% increase in comparison to its previous season finale (yet this was only the mid-season finale) and breaking records for cable television.  It surpassed all other fall programs that appeal to the 18-49 age demographic such as “the Big Bang Theory” and “Modern Family”. Plus, the show’s new follow-up talk show “the Talking Dead” received a viewership of 2.2 million.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gUvKSXO_Ipc

In February, AMC will premiere two new non-fiction tv-shows, “Immortalized” and “Freakshow“,  “The Walking Dead“, “the Talking Dead“(both returning Feb. 14th 2013), and the hit reality tv show “Comic Book Men” will also return that same month [11].

 

SundanceChannel.jpg

Courtesy of media.sundancechannel.com

The Sundance Channel is a cable television channel that airs original programming, independent films, documentaries, and short films plus recent news regarding the current year’s Sundance Film Festival.

Recent News

The Sundance Channel announced in November its upcoming releases of 5 new dramas of high caliber talent and “non-formaulative” story lines. These new premieres include shows such as “Valentines”, based off a novel by Olaf Olafsson and produced by Robert Redford that follows the life of a New York lawyer and his three daughters. Other shows include “Death in the Modern Age”, “T”, and “Behind the Sun” [12].

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Courtesy of patrickgallo.weebly.com

 The IFC Channel (Independent Film Channel) airs independent film, original programming, and news and buzz relate to the independent film industry. IFC airs programs that range from slightly off comedies such as “Portlandia“, the multiple chapters of the R. Kelly “hip-hopera” “Trapped in the Closet“, to the absurdity behind beard competitions in the reality tv show “Whisker Wars“.

Recent News

AMC Networks has entered into fierce negotiations with Verizon in the past month concerning contract renewals.  Pressure has also escalated in negotiations with Timewarner concerning the networks low-rated channels that are being bundled with their stronger channels such as AMC. Both carriage companies have threatened to drop [13] the networks programming as a result of weak ratings from both  IFC and WE tv.

wetv-logo.jpg

Courtesy of 1.bp.blogspot.com

WE tv airs is a cable television channel that targets women and women’s issues. Programming includes documentaries, some original programming, talk shows, fashion shows, older feature films, and some re-runs of other TV shows. Their  latest hits include “Mary Mary“, a program that follows the lives of the famous gospel duo composed of the two ATkins-Campbell sister, Erica and Tina.

References

1. AMC Networks Homepage http://www.amcnetworks.com/default

2. Dish Network Settles Suit With AMC -WSJ http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203406404578070960821103982.html

3.Third Quarter Report of AMC Networks 2012 http://www.amcnetworks.com/release_release_press.jsp?nodeid=6602

4.40th Annual UBS Global Media and Communications Conference http://cc.talkpoint.com/ubsx001/120312a_im/?entity=15_EJSUBIR

5.http://abovethecrowd.com/2010/04/28/affiliate-fees-make-the-world-go-round/

6.http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2012/10/22/amc-and-dish-work-out-a-new-deal-the-zombies-are-b.aspx

7.http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2012/07/15/amc-breaking-bad-news-for-dish-but-its-great-for-i.aspx

8. Drama of the Lost Dish Network http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GAWgizbYfGw&feature=player_embedded

9. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/amc-back-dish-lawsuit-settled-381472

10. AMC’s “The Walking Dead” is The First Cable Series to Beat Every Other Show of the Fall Broadcast Season in Adult 18-49 http://www.amcnetworks.com/release_release_press.jsp?nodeid=6607

11. http://www.amctv.com/

12.Sundace Channel’s New Shows http://www.amcnetworks.com/release_release_press.jsp?nodeid=6601

13.http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-12-03/time-warner-cable-threatens-to-drop-low-rated-networks.html

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