Who Might Want To Buy AMC Networks, Scripps, Or Starz?

CBS, Disney, Fox, and Time Warner are the easy answers — and the ones that many financial types believe are eyeing the independent programming network companies following Comcast’s $45.2B agreement to buy Time Warner Cable. AMC Networks logoBut Bernstein Research’s Todd Juenger takes the conversation a step further today with an intriguing report that suggests several less obvious potential buyers for AMC Networks, Scripps or Starz. Distributors including DirecTV, Dish Network, Charter, AT&T and Verizon might want to take a page from Comcast’s playbook when it bought NBCUniversal. DirecTV doesn’t offer broadband, so it has “additional motivation to take some action to future-proof the business,” possibly by offering exclusive access to certain networks, Juenger says. Charter and Dish are long shots: Charter probably could only afford AMC. And Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen seems intent on acquiring airwave spectrum, although “nobody really knows Mr. Ergen’s potential plans, and they could change.” AT&T and Verizon’s corporate cultures are “a step (or three) further removed from the content business.” Yet here, too, they might take a leap since “their historical core businesses are not exactly growing, and they could amass the financial resources.”

Related: What A Comcast-TWC Could Mean For Hollywood

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AMC’s Ben Davis Upped To SVP Scripted

By | Wednesday March 5, 2014 @ 10:28am PST
Nellie Andreeva

davisbenAMC has promoted Ben Davis to SVP of scripted programming. He will continue to report to Susie Fitzgerald, SVP of scripted development and current programming. Davis is an AMC veteran, having joined the network in 2005, just as it was transforming itself into an original programming player. He was part of the team behind AMC’s first original program, hit miniseries Broken Trail, as well as the pilots for Breaking Bad, Mad Men and Rubicon. He has served as the day-to-day creative executive in charge of Breaking Bad and Mad Men (first three seasons) and The Killing and has overseen all seasons of hit The Walking Dead, including the upcoming fifth. Read More »

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AMC Sets June Premiere Date For Drama Series ‘Halt And Catch Fire’

By | Wednesday March 5, 2014 @ 9:19am PST

amclogo4AMC‘s new 10-episode drama series Halt And Catch Fire will debut on Sunday June 1 at 10 PM. Starring Lee Pace, Scoot McNairy, Mackenzie Davis, Kerry Bishé and Toby Huss, Halt And Catch Fire captures the rise of the PC … Read More »

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AMC Networks Shares Hit All-Time High As Investors Look Ahead To New Shows

By | Thursday February 27, 2014 @ 1:04pm PST

Looks like CEO Josh Sapan‘s comments to analysts addressed whatever concerns investors Josh Sapanhad about AMC Networks’ mixed Q4 earnings report this morning. The company’s stock price opened slightly down but quickly, and steadily, appreciated throughout the morning: … Read More »

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UPDATE: AMC Networks Reports Mixed Q4 Results Helped By ‘Walking Dead’ But Hurt By Write-Off For Cancelled ‘Low Winter Sun’ & ‘The Killing’

By | Thursday February 27, 2014 @ 4:25am PST

UPDATE, 5:48 AM: Cancelled series Low Winter Sun and The Killing were responsible for the writedown, CEO Josh Sapan told analysts in a conference call. “We were not happy with the performance of Low Winter Sun,” he says.

PREVIOUS, 4:25 AM: It will be interesting to see … Read More »

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Sundance Channel To Premiere ‘The Red Road’ Internationally On April 24

By | Tuesday February 25, 2014 @ 1:47am PST

sundance logoSundance Channel‘s second original scripted series The Red Road debuts Stateside on February 27. In a move that dovetails with the launch of the Sundance London film and music festival, and as Sundance ups its international … Read More »

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AMC Networks Earnings Grew In Q3, But Not As Much As Wall Street Expected

By | Thursday November 7, 2013 @ 5:44am PST

The share price is down in pre-market trading following the disappointing Q3 earnings release which contrasts with the company’s performance last year – a quarter when it racked up legal expenses for a court fight with Dish Network which also … Read More »

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Did AMC Networks Take Itself Off The Market By Agreeing To Buy Chellomedia?

By | Monday October 28, 2013 @ 12:10pm PDT

Today’s agreement to pay $1B for Liberty Global’s international networks company Chellomedia ”dramatically changes the investment thesis” for AMC Networks, BTIG’s Richard Greenfield saysMany believed that the pay TV network company was ripe for a takeover more than two years after Cablevision spun it off. It’s savoring the success of shows including The Walking Dead, Mad Men and the recently wrapped Breaking Bad and a big payoff from the resolution last year of its breach of contract complaint against Dish Network. AMC’s shares are up about 95% since it went public, and +46% over the last 12 months. But Greenfield downgraded AMC to “neutral,” noting that that even though “timing for a sale appeared ideal,” management’s time and attention now “will be shifted to a significant portfolio of global cable network assets.” Bernstein Research’s Todd Juenger says the deal means “slower growth, more financial risk, and [AMC] becomes harder to acquire.” But others say that AMC’s long-term prospects look rosier as it expands its global reach.

Related: News Corp Digital Vet Jonathan Miller Joins AMC Networks Board
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AMC Networks To Pay $1B For Liberty Global’s Chellomedia

By | Monday October 28, 2013 @ 3:20am PDT

AMC Networks significantly expands its footprint with the acquisition of Chellomedia, the international content division of John Malone’s Liberty Global. In May, Liberty put the business up for sale, expecting a deal valued at between $800M and $1B, The Wall Street Journal reported at the time. AMC, which has actively been increasing its global presence via international programming business, AMC/Sundance Channel Global, will pay $1.035B for Chellomedia. (Scripps Networks Interactive, Turner Broadcasting and Discovery Communications had previously been mentioned as suitors.) Chellomedia produces and distributes TV channels across such territories as the UK, Benelux, Central Europe, Spain and Latin America and reaches about 390 million households. Included in the deal are Chello-branded channels airing genres ranging from movies to entertainment, sports, children’s, lifestyle and documentary programming. Chellomedia’s stakes in joint ventures with A+E Networks, CBS International and other partners also fall under the acquisition, although Liberty will hold onto its Dutch premium channel business. This deal will provide AMC, home to Mad Men and The Walking Dead, with further outlets for programming from AMC, IFC, Sundance Channel and WE tv. Here’s the official release:

NEW YORK, NY, October 28, 2013 – AMC Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: AMCX) announced today it has reached a definitive agreement to acquire substantially all of Chellomedia, the international content division of Liberty Global (Nasdaq: LBTYA) for €750 million (approximately $1.035 billion USD). The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2014.

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Former News Corp Digital Guru Jonathan Miller Joins AMC Networks Board

By | Monday October 21, 2013 @ 3:17pm PDT

The company had to expand the size of board to 14 to add Jonathan Miller — who was News Corp’s Chief Digital Officer from 2009-2012 and now is a partner at investment firm Advancit Capital. He’ll serve on … Read More »

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AMC Networks CEO Says His Company Will Benefit As Pay TV Providers Study Costs

By | Tuesday September 24, 2013 @ 8:21am PDT

One knock against AMC Networks as a business is that it may be too small to hold its own when it negotiates deals with cable and satellite distributors. But CEO Josh Sapan says he isn’t worried: With hit … Read More »

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Producers And Networks Drive Pay TV Price Increases For Consumers: Analyst

By | Tuesday September 10, 2013 @ 2:35pm PDT

Pay TV distributors who believe that the decks are stacked against them in retransmission negotiations with major content producers should take a look at the 180-page media and entertainment report out today from International Strategy and Investment Group analyst Vijay Jayant. He urges investors to buy shares of AMC Networks, CBS, 21st Century Fox, Time Warner, and Viacom. He’s neutral on Discovery, Disney, and Scripps Networks. The big reason: These eight companies, he says, “control 90% of total TV viewership and 60% of total film production in the U.S., which means that, for the most part, they have the power to determine how content is packaged and priced to distributors and, therefore, consumers.” That muscle will be evident over the next few years as they squeeze cable and satellite companies to pay $60B in carriage fees for their channels in 2016, up from $45B this year. These payments “are drivers for the overall sector.” Factoring in “the consumer’s inherent psychological need for entertainment (even during tough times),” Jayant predicts healthy profits for his eight companies, with annual average returns on invested capital over the next three years ranging from 40.1% for AMC to 9.9% for Time Warner. Read More »

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EOne, AMC Networks Ink Multi-Year International Output Deal For Scripted Series

By | Thursday September 5, 2013 @ 1:17am PDT

The deal with eOne is AMC and Sundance Channel’s first exclusive international output partnership for scripted content. The parties already have a relationship with eOne the studio and international distributor behind AMC’s Hell On Wheels, and along with Fox International Channels, it’s the international distributor on The Walking Dead. The first series eOne will distribute internationally under the new pact are Halt & Catch Fire, a 1980s-set drama about the personal computing boom with Lee Pace, Scoot McNairy and Mackenzie Davis; Turn, a period drama based on Alexander Rose’s book Washington Spies and starring Jamie Bell; and The Red Road, about a local cop (Martin Henderson) struggling to keep his family together while policing two clashing communities. Click over for details: Read More »

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AMC Networks Beats Q2 Earnings Forecasts With Help From ‘Mad Men’

By | Thursday August 8, 2013 @ 5:41am PDT

With 39 Emmy nominations and now a strong Q2 earnings report, I suspect CEO Josh Sapan is in a good mood today. The bottom line was helped by a $133M contribution from Dish Network — part of its payment to resolve the breach of contract dispute involving the VOOM HD … Read More »

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AMC Networks Chief Says TV Advertisers Want Viewer Passion As Well As Ratings

By | Wednesday May 22, 2013 @ 8:09am PDT

This is “a new, developing phenomenon,” AMC Networks CEO Josh Sapan told investors this morning at the Barclays’ Global Technology, Media and Telecommunications Conference. Although advertisers still crave ratings points, they also increasingly want to reach people who say that “there are only two or three shows I watch and I live and die for them.” The trend is gaining momentum as viewers discover opportunities to binge view shows on pay TV, VOD and streaming services including Netflix and Amazon Prime. In addition, young viewers become obsessive about programs when social networks such as Facebook and Twitter help to connect them with others who share their passion. As a result, “that favorite stuff in media is emerging as the most important [driver] of value,” Sapan says. That’s encouraging for networks such as AMC — which has high-engagement hits with dramas including Mad Men, The Walking Dead, and Breaking Bad. But it’s hard to build a business around the trend: “Good dramatic TV shows aren’t known until they’re on,” he says. And nobody has perfect pitch. “There are many shows that have spectacular television pedigree and the show doesn’t work” while others from untested producers or stars “take off like crazy.” Sapan says he’s encouraged by his upcoming shows including Low Winter Sun (a police drama), Turn (about Revolutionary War spies), Halt & Catch Fire (about the computing boom in the 1980s), and Line Of Sight (a sci-fi drama the AMC chief calls “nuanced and exquisite”). Read More »

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WE TV Eyes Expansion Into Scripted Programming With Series Order To AMC’s LaGravenese/Goldwyn Drama Pilot

By | Friday May 10, 2013 @ 12:12pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: AMC Networks‘ female-focused WEtv is looking to follow in the footsteps of siblings AMC, IFC and Sundance Channel by moving into original scripted series. I hear WE is getting help in its plans from AMC, … Read More »

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AMC Networks Chief Says ‘Rectify’ Helps Sundance Channel’s Effort To Add Ads

By | Thursday May 9, 2013 @ 9:00am PDT

“We’re paying particular attention to Sundance” because of the campaign to begin folding in commercials — due to take effect toward the end of this year —  AMC Networks CEO Josh Sapan told analysts this morning. The company … Read More »

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AMC Networks Q1 Results Beat Forecasts With Strong Ad Sales For Original Shows

By | Thursday May 9, 2013 @ 5:41am PDT

The stock price is up nearly 6% pre-market after the company released a Q1 report that showed strong results in most key metrics. AMC Networks generated net income of $61.5M, +42.5% vs the period last year, on revenues of … Read More »

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AMC Networks CEO Josh Sapan Made $8.9M In 2012, -22.6%

By | Thursday April 25, 2013 @ 2:07pm PDT

AMC Networks‘ C-suite shouldn’t consist of mad men based on the raises everyone but the CEO received last year. The increase in Josh Sapan‘s non-equity incentives wasn’t big enough to compensate in a drop in stock awards. His … Read More »

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