by Meg Zukin
AMC NetworksContact Information[ii]—
11 Penn Plaza
New York, NY 10001
Main phone: 212-324-8500
AMC Networks is an American entertainment company which owns and operates AMC, BBC America, IFC, Sundance TV, WE, IFC Films, and AMC Networks International. Initially, AMC was known as Rainbow Media Holdings and until 2011, was a subsidiary of Cablevision Systems. In 2011, Cablevision made Rainbow Media Holdings a publicly traded company and changed its name to AMC Networks [iii].
AMC has recently gained momentum through television shows like The Walking Dead, Mad Men, and Breaking Bad, on its cable channel, AMC [iv]. IFC Films and its affiliate channel, IFC, are responsible for indie films like Boyhood [v] and quirky television comedies like Portlandia [vi]. Recently, the company acquired a 49.9% stake in BBC through a joint venture that cost $200 million [vii].
Pictures and titles courtesy of http://www.amcnetworks.com/about-us/leadership [viii]
AMC Networks just reported its third quarter earnings. Net revenues increased a whopping 31.4% to $520 million [ix]. International revenue reached $122.7 million, up 765% from last year. This could be attributed to acquisitions of both BBC and Chellomedia, a deal AMC made in February which gave them a stack of networks in Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and Asia [x]. The company also reported earnings of $53.2 million, or 74 cents a share. Analysts estimated that AMC Networks would come in at 73 cents a share and thus, they surpassed projections [xi].
According to the third quarter report, AMC Networks is currently working with a $110 million operating income [xii].
When the market closed on December 1, 2014, AMCX was down 1.34% at $63.99 per share. The company hit a low-point in mid-October at $52.75 per share and was at its highest in March at $77.40 per share. Looking at the past 3 years (when AMCX became a publicly traded company), we see exponential growth overall.
photo courtesy of Google Finance [xxx]
What’s Happening Now?—
Sarah Barnett Named President and General Manager, BBC America
AMC Networks announced last week (November 21, 2014) that current SundanceTV chief, Sarah Barnett, would be moving up to President and General Manager of BBC America [xiii]. Barnett began her career at BBC in production before she spent a decade at SundanceTV. She will start her new position in January, surveying over both SundanceTV and BBC America until AMC taps someone else to oversee SundanceTV. The current General Manager at BBC, Perry Simon, who was on the team behind Orphan Black, is moving to production with BBC Worldwide North America [xv].
Barnett certainly has the chops for an upgrade in position. Under her reign, she established Sundance as an original programming network with shows like Rectify, Top of the Lake, and The Honourable Woman [xvi] With this new position she will continue to report to Ed Carroll, Chief Operating Officer of AMC Networks.
AMC Announces Two-Night Premiere for Spin-Off Series “Better Call Saul”
AMC’s next new drama series, Better Call Saul, will debut on Sunday, February 8 with its second episode debuting the next night, Monday, February 9 [xvii]. The series follows Breaking Bad character Saul Goodman, prior to him becoming Walter White’s lawyer lawyer.
The back-to-back premiere is “AMC’s first ever two-night series premiere event” according to Charlie Collier [xix]. Season one is slated for 10 episodes and Talking Dead will air before it, a solid segue for high-ratings for both shows. Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan co-created the spin-off with writer-director Peter Gould [xx].
AMC Networks and BBC Worldwide Enter Partnership
In October, AMC Networks bought a 49.9% stake in the BBC America cable channel. They paid $200 million to BBC Worldwide and the marriage between the two companies leaves BBC with a 50.1% stake in BBC America [xxi]. BBC America is available in almost 80 million homes domestically and was the most critically acclaimed channel on ad-supported television in 2013 [xxii].
BBC America will be managed as a standalone channel within AMC, much like how AMC, WE tv, and SundanceTV are operated. Even though BBC still has a grander stake in its American counterpart, AMC Networks will maintain operational control over the company, as well as affiliate and advertising sales [xxiii].
This agreement occurred almost exactly on the one-year anniversary of AMC’s $1 billion acquisition of Liberty Global’s international network, Chellomedia. That acquisition led to AMC Networks International which is available in 140 countries [xxiv].
AMC Networks/IFC Films Acquires Rights to “October Gale”
IFC Films bought the American rights to writer-director Ruba Nadda‘s thriller, October Gale, which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival. IFC Films also released another film by Nadda, Cairo Time. The film stars Patricia Clarkson, Tim Roth, and Scott Speedman. Clarkson plays a doctor who takes in a skeptical man when he floats ashore at her secluded cabin with a gunshot wound [xxv]. Myriad Pictures is handling worldwide sales.
Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein Return to Portlandia
Portlandia will return to IFC for its ten-episode fifth season in January. This season will showcase a laundry list of cameos including Vanessa Bayer, Steve Buscemi, Peter Giles, Justin Long, Shepard Fairey, Jane Lynch, and Olivia Wilde, amongst others [xxvi].
video courtesy of IFC Youtube
Viewers will be able to recap previous seasons on New Year’s Day when IFC will air a marathon but seasons 1 through 4 are also available on Netflix and iTunes [xxvii].
IFC Orders New Comedy Series: “Gigi’s Bucket List”
IFC has ordered a series starring David Krumholtz as “Gigi,” a 72-year-old Jewish grandmother from Boca Raton, Florida. Krumholtz is also an executive producer along with Grandma’s House Entertainment.
It will shoot this year and is slated to air in 2015. Gigi indulges herself after she discovers that she has access to her dead husband’s bank account [xxviii]. This series fits in with IFC’s quirky personality and will air in 73 million U.S. homes [xix].
David Dobkin to Direct “Badlands” for AMC
However, it was announced on November 24, 2014 that director David Dobkin has signed onto the project as series director and executive producer. Dobkin has worked on Wedding Crashers and Shanghai Knights previously. AMC bought six, one-hour, episodes with an expected premiere either in late 2015 or early 2016 [xxxii].
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