AMC's 'Classical Playbook' A New Streaming Frenemy Plan?

Fresh TV series and movie content might not even see the light of day on any of the producers' own streaming (or linear TV network channels).

This is the opinion of Patrick O’Connell, chief financial officer of AMC Networks -- speaking at a JP Morgan media industry event.

This is all part of what he says is the “great unbundling.” 

AMC Networks, a midsized cable TV networks/streaming company, is looking for new ways to generate revenue. And that may be found through licensing and developing content for other buyers, perhaps competing U.S. streaming networks.

Last year AMC Studios started up a deal to produce “Silo,” a sci-fi drama, for Apple TV+, which has been renewed.



"Frenemy" deals have been around forever, with TV-movie studios producing content for competing media companies for their TV networks.

More recently, we have seen this trend especially among newer streaming services like Max (formerly HBO Max). David Zaslav, chief executive officer of Warner Bros. Discovery has made it a point for the last year or so ago that licensing content to other buyers will be growing -- all this to supplement more revenue generation.

That said, Zaslav isn’t thinking about giving away the store. He won’t sacrifice selling away potential big hits to a major competitor -- maybe a fresh new series in the “Game of Thrones” mold.  In part WBD is focused on library products.

That doesn't seem to necessarily be the case for AMC Networks. It could do this -- selling directly to a media owner. But it would still be a rare thing.

More likely, O’Connell said, the company will operate in a more “classical media playbook” -- keeping the first-window exclusive domestic content for AMC+ and/or the linear AMC Network. Afterward, it would then look to sell that content elsewhere.

Still, this would be a spin on how modern streamers operate -- delivering highly valued content for its own streamers/channels and keeping all content -- new and old seasonal episodes.

The streaming business keeps adapting with somewhat challenging -- although for the most part still money-losing -- operations. And now, looking to find ways to stay above water.

The enemy is a friend -- he pays and plays.

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