AMC Calls SVOD Policy ‘Appropriate’

Sapan says one-year deal balances availability and money
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AMC Networks says its policy of making its original series available to streaming video on demand a year after they appear on linear TV remains appropriate.

SVOD services like Netflix and Hulu are being accused of being a culprit as traditional television ratings decline. While they generate billions of dollars in revenue for programmers, they also are seen as encouraging cord-cutting and cord-shaving, reducing the distribution revenue for traditional TV networks.

During a conference call with analysts and investors on Wednesday, Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes said the company was evaluating delaying when it makes its shows available to SVOD providers in order to boost the value of the pay-TV bundle. Other analysts and industry executives have said that networks and studios should review their SVOD policies to avoid killing TV's golden goose.

During AMC’s earnings call Thursday, CEO Josh Sapan said “we’ve been fairly consistent in our thinking since we engaged in SVOD exploitation. We thought it was wise to balance time and money.”

AMC waits about a year to make its shows available to SVOD, in the case of shows like Mad Men and Breaking Bad. Sapan said that gave AMC the value of increased exposure, which led to higher ratings for those series.

“Our view today is our approach was a measured one and an appropriate one. I don’t know if perfect is an available answer,” he said. “We ‘ll obviously continue to monitor it.”

AMC has a deal with Netflix for some of its current programming. It recently signed a new agreement to put shows on Hulu, starting with Fear the Walking Dead.

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