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AMC Networks sheds 500,000 streaming subscribers during Q2

AMC Networks lost around 500,00 direct-to-consumer streaming subscribers during the company’s second financial quarter of the year, the company revealed this week.

On Friday, executives at AMC reported 11 million customers of its various domestic streaming services, which includes the flagship AMC Plus streamer and niche outlets like Shudder, Sundance Now and ALLBLK.

The figure represented a 6 percent increase compared to last year and a 5 percent decline when compared to its most-recent financial quarter, during which it reported 11.8 million subscribers.

The drop might have been lower during the quarter had it not been for a change in how AMC counted its subscribers, with executives saying it no longer includes “estimated subscriber conversions” in its count. While AMC didn’t define the term, it seemed to indicate that the company once counted paid and free trial customers among its streaming base, whereas now it only tallies those who are paying for each service.

Overall, AMC earned $678.63 million in revenue during the three-month period that ended June 30, an 8 percent drop from the $738.03 million reported at this time last year.

Domestic operations counted for the majority of its revenue, reported at $581.82 million for the quarter, a dip of 6.3 percent. Domestic revenue was assisted by higher earnings in streaming ($137 million) and content licensing ($81 million), which offset declines in its national and streaming advertising business.

“Six months into my tenure as CEO, I am impressed with our team’s ability to do what this company has always done best: produce high-quality content and make it available to viewers across an expanding array of platforms,” Kristin Dolan, AMC Network’s chief executive, said in a statement. “We accomplish this through a measured, opportunistic and disciplined strategy that drives free cash flow. Even during a period of industry-wide uncertainty and change, we are seeing the benefits of our strategy play out in our financial results, which for the second quarter include year-over-year increases in free cash, streaming subscribers, and streaming revenue, as well as healthy margins.”

Dolan said AMC’s strong portfolio of content — which includes the hit franchise “The Walking Dead” — as well as its platforms and distribution partners will help the company “continue to operate a very profitable business that delivers long-term shareholder value.”

To help grow revenue, executives revealed in April that AMC will soon launch an ad-supported version of AMC Plus, which could help attract subscribers with what is expected to be a lower-cost tier of service that is subsidized by short commercial breaks.

AMC also announced a price increase on its horror-centric Shudder streaming service, with new customers shelling out $7 a month or $72 a year for a subscription. Long-term Shudder subscribers will be impacted by the price increase later this month.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).