New AVOD Tier, Data Platform To Take Center Stage At AMC Networks Upfront

AMC Networks is coming to the Upfront marketplace, touting a new ad-supported streaming tier that the company is hailing as a “third audience” that was formerly unavailable to advertisers, but now adds strength to AMC's cross-platform offerings.

For AMC, the other two audiences were provided by its portfolio of linear cable networks and digital/connected TV (CTV) platforms.

The new AMC+ AVOD tier gives the company and its clients opportunities to take advantage of all three.

In an interview last week at AMC's Manhattan offices, AMC Networks Chief Commercial Officer Kim Kelleher said the creation of the new advertising tier represents “the round-out of the entire ecosystem, which now includes AMC+'s audience, which has been missing.”

“We had linear, we had the digital and CTV, and now we have the streaming piece, and now our advertisers have access across all three audiences,” she said.



The new AMC+ AVOD tier, announced on Monday, will be a centerpiece of AMC Networks' Upfront presentation to be staged Tuesday in New York at the venue known as Jazz at Lincoln Center.

AMC Networks also announced on Monday the creation and launch of a new “data targeting platform” dubbed Audience+ that will underpin its cross-platform sales efforts this Upfront season.

Developed with 605, the New York-based data and analytics firm, Audience+ will also be featured prominently at AMC's Upfront show.

“The technology that we've been building towards has been to bring linear, VOD and CTV streaming together in a way that an advertiser can target a subset of the households unduplicated across all of that viewership to hone in on their specific audience target,” said Evan Adlman, executive vice president of commercial sales and revenue operations for AMC Networks.

“[Audience+] now powers and informs our media planning products, as well as gives insights to advertisers on how to package our content across platforms,” he said.

For AMC, the Audience+ data platform represents the company's belief in an addressable future. “We believe the world of television will be an addressable world,” Kelleher said. “We believe that is the way the industry is going and that is the future we are building towards.”

Where its content is concerned, AMC Networks' position is “everything to someone, not something for everyone,” Kelleher said.

As always, AMC will bring a number of new shows to the marketplace this spring that will be presented at the Upfront by Dan McDermott, AMC Networks president of entertainment and AMC Studios.

One new show, “Monsieur Spade,” starring Clive Owen, will imagine “Maltese Falcon” private eye Sam Spade living in retirement in France.

Another will star Giancarlo Esposito of AMC's “Breaking Bad” and “Better Call Saul.” The show, “Parish,” is based on a BBC series from 2014 called “The Driver” about a taxi driver bored with his life who finds himself moonlighting as a driver for criminals.

The Upfront will also tout a new slate of short-form series coming out of AMC's Content Room production unit under the supervision of Kim Granito, who was promoted just last week to AMC Networks’ head of marketing.

Content Room is positioned as the company's “branded entertainment division” whose content offerings stem from existing AMC content brands.

For example, a short-form cooking show -- “In the Kitchen With Harry” (working title) -- will feature actor Harry Hamlin, now starring in “Anne Rice's Mayfair Witches” on AMC, in his kitchen preparing meals with a world-class chef who happens to be his niece, Renee Guilbault.

Another one of the Content Room offerings is “Jim Chee: Private Eye.” The show stars Kiowa Gordon in the role he originated in the AMC southwest crime drama “Dark Winds.”

AMC sees the Content Room’s short-form output as providing unique opportunities for sponsorship and client involvement.

“We have some pretty big engaged audiences like the ‘Walking Dead’ universe and Anne Rice universe and ‘Dark Winds,’ so we are able to work directly with show creators and talent, who we know our fans love, to build out opportunities that we know are going to resonate with them,” Granito said.

“We started off as a branded entertainment agency, and that's a lot of basic things like in-show integrations and branded spots. But we started experimenting in the programming space because we saw that partners wanted to be integrated in-show and have a creative voice,” she said.

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