After two years of virtual operations due to Covid, AMC Networks is convening an in-person upfront presentation tonight in New York, where it will highlight a number of digital ad initiatives.
It has set a new slate of digital originals under its two-year-old Content Room brand studio; added six new “FAST” channels to its roster; and unveiled a new suite of ad tools.
The new channels join eight existing ones available on streaming platforms like Pluto TV, Sling TV, Samsung TV Plus, VIZIO, Plex and Comcast XUMO. FAST stands for “free, ad-supported television” and is a growing part of the streaming ecosystem designed to take advantage of the overall uptick in viewing. (Nielsen today said streaming view time has risen 18% over the past year.)
Advertising revenue continues to be a significant part of AMC Networks’ financial picture. In 2021, the company set a revenue record of $3.1 billion, up 9%. Unlike in years past, however, AMC is managing through a period of significant change. Traditional linear viewing is expected to contribute a smaller and smaller amount to the overall total, with the company’s portfolio of specialized streaming outlets set to become the dominant asset.
The new FAST channels include AMC en Español, with Spanish-language versions of AMC shows; ALLBLK Gems, a showcase for the company’s Black-aimed subscription streaming service; anime destination HIDIVE x ANIME; sports channel Overtime; and short-film outlets Shorts and its Spanish-language version, Cortos.
Kim Kelleher, president of commercial revenue & partnerships at AMC Networks, told Deadline in an interview that the FAST strategy takes advantage of a key differentiating trait of the company compared with rivals. Unlike Paramount Global, Fox Corp. or NBCUniversal, AMC Networks doesn’t own a major AVOD platform. “The way we’re approaching this space is different than most media companies,” she said. “We’re not handcuffed by owning a platform, so we have very thoughtfully partnered with six other platforms, and we expect more to come.”
The company also introduced TEAL, a product suite whose name is short for Technology Enabled Audience Led. It is described as a “one-stop destination” for advertisers to enhance their campaigns with shopping, interactivity, integrations and other capabilities.
The first TEAL campaign will launch within AMC Networks’ Content Room original series Show Me More: Killing Eve with a shoppable experience promoting Coco De Mer and Hunter Boots.
TEAL will also be the driver of a new slate of digital originals developed in the company’s brand studio, the Content Room. The slate will be distributed across the company’s digital footprint, including AMC+, AVOD/FAST and social media.
Since launching the Content Room in 2020, the company has reported success with shows like Bottomless Brunch at Colman’s, which is created and hosted by Colman Domingo of Fear the Walking Dead. After starting as a digital short produced in the early days of the pandemic, it has become an ongoing series featured across multiple digital and linear platforms and a podcast, sponsored by Diageo.
With Better Call Saul getting set for its sixth and final season, it will have three digital original series flanking it across platforms. The roster includes more employee training videos, an animated short-form series focused on the childhood of Jimmy McGill in Cicero, IL, and original comedy Cooper’s Bar, starring Rhea Seehorn.
“Our Content Room originals have been wildly successful for our audiences and our advertising partners,” said Kim Granito, EVP of the Content Room. “We are thrilled to come to this upfront with a full programming slate that utilizes our incredible talent roster and original IP in truly unique ways for our partners.”
New content room originals include Domingo’s You Are Here, a travel series; Know a Guy, which explores “special situations” where it helps to “know a guy”; and Obsessed with the Vampire, which is tied to the upcoming premiere of Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire.
Another Rice-related digital original is The Night Island, about an exclusive resort open only from sunset to sunrise, catering to an exclusive clientele of vampires and mortals. Managing Brats is a tie-in with WE tv and ALLBLK series Brat Loves Judy; Show Me More showcases series across AMC Networks, with on-set exclusives and cast interviews; and the Jordan Carlos-hosted Can We Talk About This?
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