AMC Networks doubles down on free ad-supported streaming, adds 6 new FAST channels

AMC Networks continues to press into free ad-supported streaming television (FAST) channels as part of their overall revenue strategy. They recently announced six new FAST channels to be launched over the next several months, bringing their total to 14 FAST channels.

By creating a roster of FAST channels which specialize in certain types of content – whether that is niche genres, such as HIDIVE x Anime and its focus on new series from Japan, or specific content formats, such as Shorts (and its Spanish-language counterpart, Cortos) – AMC can attract different audiences and create unique value propositions for a wider variety of advertisers. FAST channels allow them to hyper-target specific audiences through genre-specific or format-specific channels and gain additional advertising revenue from their various advertising partners. The ability to reach specific niche audiences can be appealing to advertisers, who may find that their ad content is “stickier” with a more narrow and like-minded audience. AMC’s FAST channels also serve as a way of providing consumers with previews of the content available on their premium ad-free channels, such as AMC+, Shudder, ALLBLK, and Acorn TV. Moreover, FAST channels allow a content provider to leverage their popular intellectual properties and monetize their content in new ways. It gives them another way to make use of their deep catalog of content, including IP such as The Walking Dead, Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul, and content from BBC America (Doctor Who).

With its FAST channels and a diverse catalog of subscription services, AMC Networks has safeguarded themselves with a diversified revenue portfolio as people continue to “cut the cord” and move away from cable/satellite. This combination of ad-supported revenues and subscription fees should produce a more consistent revenue stream. AMC can also take advantage of the full content life cycle by having timed exclusives on their premium subscription services, and then later making that same content available on their FAST channels.

Interpret’s VideoWatch data shows that AMC viewers are more interested in watching free ad-supported content. While only 22% of the general US population watches ad-supported free content, 34% of AMC viewers report watching ad-supported free content, and 39% of subscribers to AMC+ also watch ad-supported free content.

Other content producers will be keeping a close eye on how AMC Networks’ FAST strategy pans out. The appeal of re-purposing and further monetizing existing content is strong for those with deep content libraries.

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