AMC+ Launches On Roku

Subscription streaming outlet AMC+ has launched on Roku, expanding its distribution reach to the No. 1 U.S. streaming platform.

AMC+ is a $9-a-month bundled offering showcasing programming from across AMC Networks’ streaming and linear portfolios, from Shudder, Sundance Now and IFC Films Unlimited to AMC, BBC America, IFC and SundanceTV. Key titles include The Walking Dead Universe, Gangs of LondonRiviera, Soulmates and marquee library titles like Mad Men. Prior to reaching Roku, the service was on Amazon Prime Video Channels, Apple TV, Comcast and Dish Network and Sling TV.

With 46 million active accounts, Roku has become one of the most important gatekeepers in streaming. In September, it announced an agreement with NBCUniversal to carry its new streaming service, Peacock. To the consternation of many HBO Max subscribers, WarnerMedia has yet to reach terms with Roku, though the Christmas release of Wonder Woman 1984 on Max as well as movie theaters has raised expectations for a deal.

AMC Premiere, a commercial-free premium service focused on AMC programming, is still offered as a separate subscription offering via pay-TV providers.

Earlier this month, executives said during AMC Networks’ quarterly earnings call that they expect to hit 1 million subscribers on AMC+, which launched last June. It expects 5.5 million across all of the company’s streaming offerings by year-end, a goal it had previously set for 2022. Streaming revenue for the full year is headed toward $200 million, about twice the 2019 level.

Like other legacy cable programmers, AMC Networks is facing challenges from the shrinking of the traditional TV bundle and secular declines in ratings and advertising. Discovery Communications, a larger rival, has also announced a major streaming service that will reach the market in the coming months. ViacomCBS is also rebooting CBS All Access as Paramount+ in early 2021. Unlike many companies in the crowded field of new streaming contenders trying to close the gap with Netfix, however, AMC Networks is pursuing a niche strategy by design.

Last week, AMC Networks told employees that it planned to eliminate 10% of its U.S. workforce by the end of 2020, reductions that are the result of the company’s streamlining of linear and streaming operations.

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