Discovery, AMC Networks, Viacom Stocks Dip After DirecTV Now Pulls Their Plugs

Read on: Deadline.

The stocks of cable programmers Discovery, AMC Networks and Viacom have all dropped between 3% and 4% today despite broader-market gains as investors process the news that their networks have been dropped by DirecTV Now.
After reports in recent days po…

Disney, NBCU, Turner, CBS and More Join Vizio-Led Addressable TV Advertising Consortium

Read on: Variety.

Can the TV biz finally get its act together to target ads to viewers the way internet companies have done for years? A new consortium, led by TV manufacturer Vizio, is promising to assemble the right technology platform and media partners to make addre…

New ‘Walking Dead’ Spinoff In The Works, AMC Executives Confirm

Read on: Deadline.

A new spinoff of The Walking Dead is in the works, AMC Networks confirmed during its quarterly earnings call with Wall Street analysts.
Asked to elaborate on CEO Josh Sapan’s mention of a third zombie outing, COO Ed Carroll said the spinoff is in…

AMC Operating Chief: Third ‘Walking Dead’ Series in ‘Active Development,’ No Premiere Plans Yet

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

AMC executives gave us a very slight update Thursday on the latest “Walking Dead” spinoff, which should become the third series in Scott M. Gimple’s TV universe. Still, it’s one that may satiate rabid fans of the franchise.

“That is in active development,” Ed Carroll, chief operating officer, AMC Networks said. “We’re not yet at a stage where we’ll be announcing its plans to premiere. But we have hired creative people that have pitched story outlines. We feel very good about the development of that series.”

Carroll’s comments came during his company’s fourth-quarter 2018 conference call with media analysts and reporters.

Also Read: ‘The Walking Dead’ Drops to All-Time Low in Ratings and Viewers

Much of Carroll’s and CEO Josh Sapan’s remarks on the call were intended to add some perspective to dwindling Nielsen ratings for Season 9 of “The Walking Dead.” Though the series is way down from its heyday and recently hit an all-time low in both the key adults 18-49 demographic and in total viewers, executives there are quick to point out that it’s still cable’s top drama and No. 2 on all of TV this season to NBC’s “This Is Us.”

Find AMC’s actual Q4 financial results here. Of some interest, U.S. advertising revenue grew a bit as higher prices helped offset lower ratings, including at flagship series “The Walking Dead.”

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‘Walking Dead’: Are We Going to See Maggie Again This Season – or Ever?

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AMC Networks Beats Q4 Earnings Mark, Records $43 Million Restructuring Expense

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

AMC Networks had a better fourth quarter of 2018 than most people expected — from a financial perspective, at least. The home to AMC, BBC America, IFC and more channels topped media analyst forecasts at both its top and bottom lines.

Wall Street predicted earnings per share (EPS) would come in at $1.84 on $757.58 million in revenue, per a consensus forecast compiled by Yahoo Finance. AMC actually reported adjusted EPS of $1.92 on $773 million in revenue.

Though revenues slipped at the U.S. networks, ad sales actually ticked up 1.4 percent versus the comparable quarter last year, as higher prices more than offset lower ratings for “The Walking Dead” and other key shows.

Also Read: ‘The Walking Dead’ Drops to All-Time Low in Ratings and Viewers

Domestically, thanks to some accounting adjustments, AMC was able to report that its recognized operating income rose 7.3 percent. That positive momentum can be credited to lower programming expenses.

Beyond our borders, revenues soared 48.6 percent from Q4 2017 thanks to AMC’s 2018 acquisitions of Levity and RLJ Entertainment. The added revenue there comes with some added operating expenses, of course.

Some of the good here was dampened by a restructuring at AMC Networks. The company recognized $43 million of its $46 million 2018 restructuring costs in the fourth quarter.

Also Read: ‘Killing Eve’ Season 2: Villanelle and Eve Go Crazy for Each Other in New Trailer (Video)

“AMC Networks had a strong fourth quarter and a very successful 2018,” President and CEO Josh Sapan said in a prepared statement accompanying his company’s financials. “If there’s one headline for the year, it’s that AMC Networks continues to be a company that punches above its weight on almost every count, with a long history of having outsized impact and influence among our most important constituents, all to the benefit of our shareholders. We continue to have great success with our content, including BBC America’s ‘Killing Eve,’ which emerged as the sleeper hit of 2018; and we ended the year with AMC having 3 of the top 6 dramas on basic cable. Our quality content is the key driver behind our expanding distribution across linear and other platforms. In addition, the strength of our balance sheet allows us to continue to pursue smart and strategic investments that are changing our business, including our acquisition last year of RLJ Entertainment, which includes the Acorn TV streaming service, and is meaningfully advancing our direct to consumer interests, a key priority as we continue to diversify our revenue and grow our business.”

Shares of AMC stock (AMCX) closed at $63.58 on Wednesday, up $1.13 apiece. The U.S. stock markets will reopen their regular trading days at 9:30 a.m. ET.

AMC Networks executives will host a conference call for media analysts and reporters to discuss the quarter and full year in greater detail at 8:30 a.m. ET.

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BBC America’s ‘Luther’ & ‘Top Gear’, IFC’s ‘Brockmire’ Get Premiere Dates – TCA

Read on: Deadline.

AMC Networks set premiere dates for several new and returning original series, BBC AMERICA’s Top Gear and Luther, IFC’s Brockmire and SundanceTV’s Ministry of Evil, Unspeakable and The Name of the Rose. The announcements were made at winter TCA.
As pre…

Why AMC Networks Chose Sarah Barnett to Be Entertainment President: ‘Killing Eve’ Didn’t Hurt

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

BBC America boss Sarah Barnett has been named entertainment president of AMC Networks. Her promotion comes as part of an overall company reorg, one which we discussed Monday with both Barnett and her boss, AMC COO Ed Carroll.

“The ability to think across the four networks [AMC, BBC America, IFC and SundanceTV] is truly the motivation behind this,” Barnett said of the consolidation of resources. “And it’s the right one and the proper one and a smart one. It allows us to retain the individual brands of each of these four different businesses, and yet play to our collective strength. That’s the opportunity here.”

Unfortunately, the cost will be about 40 employees losing their job, an individual with knowledge of the restructuring tells TheWrap.

Also Read: AMC Networks Names BBC America’s Sarah Barnett as President, 40 Laid Off in Restructuring

Focusing on the positives, Carroll also likes the leveraging opportunities here. And in terms of choosing Barnett to steer the ship, it certainly didn’t hurt that “Killing Eve” on her BBC America was a big hit, he told us.

“Obviously, it’s a nice set of facts that ‘Killing Eve’ was one of the hottest and most successful shows on television [this] year,” Carrol said.

Barnett and her team developed the Sandra Oh drama.

“Sarah has demonstrated at a couple of our networks — at SundanceTV and at BBC America — that she has a keen eye for quality and creating value,” Carroll said. “And that manifested itself in shows like ‘Rectify’ and ‘Top of the Lake’ and ‘Orphan Black’ and ‘Killing Eve.’”

Also Read: AMC Opens Writers’ Rooms for Rashida Jones Comedy, Drama From ‘Better Call Saul’ EPs

Barnett used the word “fandom” a bunch of times at this point in our interview, which segued us perfectly to the “Better Call Saul”/”Breaking Bad” Universe. We asked Barnett to give us her outsider-insider opinion on how many seasons the prequel has left in the tank, since showrunner Peter Gould has previously told us we’re “getting closer to the end than we are to the beginning.”

“I actually think my husband would leave me if it doesn’t go on forever,” Barnett said.

We’re good with that.

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‘Walking Dead’: Was That a Huge Time Jump There?

‘Walking Dead’: Who Is Magna and Her New Group of Survivors?

AMC Networks Centralizes Executive Structure, Upping Sarah Barnett, David Madden And Linda Schupack; 40 Positions Eliminated

Read on: Deadline.

AMC Networks has centralized its operations, promoting Sarah Barnett to president of entertainment networks and upping senior executives David Madden and Linda Schupack.
The restructuring will result in about 40 layoffs, or about 2% of the workforce at…

AMC Networks Names BBC America’s Sarah Barnett as President, 40 Laid Off in Restructuring

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

AMC Networks has promoted BBC America boss Sarah Barnett to president of its whole portfolio of entertainment networks, which includes AMC, BBC America, SundanceTV and IFC. She will also oversee streaming service AMC Premiere.

Barnett (pictured above) is not the only one updating her business cards. David Madden, currently the president of programming for AMC, SundanceTV and AMC Studios, will add BBC America and IFC to his docket. Linda Schupack will now be the president of marketing across all of the national networks. She will report to Barnett. Madden and Barnett both report to company COO Ed Carroll.

These moves are the result of ongoing restructuring. Roughly 40 employees are expected to lose their jobs as part of the organization shift, a person with knowledge of the restructuring told TheWrap. The repositioning of assets was overseen by Jen Caserta, former president and general manager of IFC.

Charlie Collier left AMC last month to become entertainment CEO of “New Fox.”

Also Read: ‘Walking Dead’: Andrew Lincoln and Rick Grimes Will Return in a Series of TV Movies

“Sarah is an incredibly talented executive who has distinguished herself leading BBC America and, prior to that, SundanceTV, to new heights with acclaimed shows that have redefined each brand,” Carroll said Monday in a statement. “She stands out for being an inspired thinker and innovator who brings a deep knowledge of the business, strong creative instincts and excellent leadership skills to this new role, and she’s well-positioned to make even more significant contributions to our success as we strategically shift to an enterprise-wide structure across our scripted entertainment networks.”

“With his breadth of experience and track record of success, David is as good as it gets when it comes to making compelling content people care about,” Carroll added of Madden. “I look forward to working with him and his team even more closely in this new role as he leverages his expertise across all four of our scripted entertainment networks and AMC Studios.”

“I’m privileged to work closely with David, whose creative chops and deep experience and relationships are going to fuel our forward momentum,” Barnett said of him. “David is a singular talent and I can’t wait to work more closely with him.”

“Linda is a clear leader in entertainment marketing, having engaged fans over many years across some of the most iconic and well-known series in television history,” she added of Schupack. “Her innovation in blending performance marketing with consistent creative excellence is exactly what is needed for the changing landscape of entertainment.”

Also Read: ‘Walking Dead’: Was That a Huge Time Jump There?

Here are some more key Barnett reports, a list that includes some more new promotions:

  • Blake Callaway, executive director, who will continue to oversee IFC.
  • Jan Diedrichsen, executive director, who will continue to oversee SundanceTV and the Sundance Now streaming service.
  • Courtney Thomasma, who will be promoted to executive director, overseeing BBC America.
  • Marnie Black, executive vice president, public relations, who will continue to oversee all consumer public relations functions for AMC, SundanceTV and Sundance Now, and expand her responsibility to now include BBC America and IFC.
  • Tom Halleen, executive vice president, programming strategy, acquisitions and scheduling, will continue to oversee scheduling, acquisitions, and promo planning & strategy functions across AMC and SundanceTV, and expand his responsibility to now include BBC America, IFC and WE tv.
  • Mac McKean, executive vice president, Innovation, who will continue to oversee AMC Premiere and expand his responsibility for digital, gaming and new products across AMC, BBC America, SundanceTV and IFC.
Related stories from TheWrap:

AMC Opens Writers’ Rooms for Rashida Jones Comedy, Drama From ‘Better Call Saul’ EPs

AMC Networks Beats Q3 Earnings Estimates as International Growth Takes Off

AMC’s Charlie Collier to Become Entertainment CEO of ‘New Fox’

AMC Networks Beats Wall Street Estimates For Q3 Earnings And Revenue

Read on: Deadline.

AMC Networks beat Wall Street’s estimates for third-quarter earnings and revenue, and pointed to its acquisition of RLJ Entertainment as a sign of the content company’s expansion into direct-to-consumer streaming.
Earnings per share for the…

AMC Networks Beats Q3 Earnings Estimates as International Growth Takes Off

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

AMC Networks beat the Street in the third quarter of 2018, reporting adjusted earnings per share (EPS) of $2.15 on $697 million in revenue. Compare those with Wall Street’s forecasts: $1.80 in EPS on $694.29 million in revenue, per a consensus compiled by Yahoo Finance.

Overall, the publicly traded corporation’s revenues over the 90 days that ended on Sept. 30, 2018 rose 7.5 percent. We can break that down as growth of 3.5 percent at the national networks and a big 34.6 percent increase internationally. While that’s a big disparity on a percentage basis, AMC’s national networks group (AMC, WE tv, BBC America, IFC and SundanceTV; and AMC Studios, the Company’s television production business) is still almost 4x as large as the global arm.

Over the three months measured for these results, AMC’s national networks saw a 5 percent increase in distribution revenue, which was mostly thanks to increased subscription sales and greater content licensing returns.

It’s worth pointing out here that most of Season 4 of “Better Call Saul” aired during the summer quarter. “The Walking Dead” Season 9 waited for Q4 to premiere. The zombie drama’s spinoff “Fear the Walking Dead” ran in the third quarter.

Also Read: AMC’s Charlie Collier to Become Entertainment CEO of ‘New Fox’

AMC’s international and “other” segment principally consists of AMC Networks International, the company’s international programming business; IFC Films, its independent film distribution business; Levity Entertainment Group, AMC’s production services and comedy venues business; and the company’s owned subscription streaming services, Sundance Now and Shudder.

Shareholders can thank Levity for much of Q3’s revenue growth.

Also Read: AMC Networks to Acquire Robert Johnson’s RLJ Entertainment

On Thursday, AMC also announced it has completed its acquisition of RLJ Entertainment, the home to Acorn TV and UMC (Urban Movie Channel).

“Today we announced our acquisition of RLJ Entertainment, the company behind the growing streaming services Acorn TV and UMC, which now reach nearly one million subscribers. This acquisition represents a major step forward for AMC Networks as we further diversify our business through direct-to-consumer offerings that we own and control, and through our AMC Studios operation and our international channels business,” President and CEO Josh Sapan said in comments accompanying the financials. “In an evolving media and entertainment marketplace, AMC Networks continues to be very well positioned based on our size, our pricing and our strong content, which includes three of the top five dramas on ad-supported cable, and we remain the most widely available independent programmer among virtual MVPDs. In the third quarter, we delivered solid financial performance and we are on track to meet our 2018 full-year financial targets of total company revenue and adjusted operating income growth.”

Also Read: ‘Better Call Saul’ Co-Showrunner Breaks Down That Long-Awaited Moment in the Season Finale

Shares of AMCX stock closed Wednesday afternoon at $58.58, up 84 cents. The U.S. stock markets reopen at 9:30 a.m. ET.

Sapan and other AMC executives will host a conference call at 8:30 a.m. ET to discuss the quarter in greater detail. One key player will be missing, however.

Last month, “New Fox” said that AMC Networks president and general manager Charlie Collier would be leaving the company to become entertainment CEO of (what will be left of) Fox following the Disney deal. Collier presided over AMC’s reinvention into a scripted drama powerhouse on the strength of Emmy darlings like “Mad Men” and “Breaking Bad” and the striking ratings of “The Walking Dead.”

Also Read: ‘The Walking Dead’: Norman Reedus on Why Daryl and Maggie Turned Away in Episode 3’s Final Scene

AMC Networks will continue to be led by Sapan and COO Ed Carroll. David Madden also joined last year as president of programming for AMC, SundanceTV and AMC Studios.

AMC is looking for a permanent replacement for Collier.

Related stories from TheWrap:

AMC Stock Shows Signs of Life After Major ‘Walking Dead’ Drop

‘Better Call Saul’ Boss Talks AMC Show’s Future: ‘We’re Closer to the End’

AMC Renews Paul Giamatti-Produced ‘Lodge 49’ for Season 2

‘Fear The Walking Dead’s Colman Domingo Lifts The Lid On AMC Adaptation Of Stage Play ‘Dot’

Read on: Deadline.

Fear The Walking Dead star Colman Domingo said that he is “mining the pilot” of his adaptation of stage play Dot for U.S. cable network AMC.
The actor and playwright is developing the project, which premiered on stage in 2016 in New York, as In The Mid…