During Nielsen's CES panel they highlighted data that illustrates just how much consumers are evolving in their media consumption. While traditional linear continues to be important and will be for some time, based on this data, the growth of SVOD, AVOD, and "Live" streaming is undeniable. While many networks have taken the route of walled-gardens, AMC Networks has intentionally made the decision to allow the consumer to be the guide.
AMC Networks is aggressively embarking on a strategy to meet consumers where they want to consume media, which is pretty much everywhere, across all platforms. Whether it is their traditional brand on linear television that hosts their tentpole first - run series, their SVOD AMC+ or their newest foray into the world of FASTs (Free Ad Supported TV) through platforms such as Samsung TV Plus, VIZIO SmartCast, IMDb TV, Sling TV, and Pluto TV, AMC Networks is becoming digitally ubiquitous.
Evan Adlman is the senior vice president of advanced advertising and digital partnerships at AMC Networks and one of the architects of AMC's digital strategy, a role that is prescient given that he literally has "Ad" in his name. Adlman has implemented a strategy that is laser-focused on not only the current AMC viewer and their behaviors but is also meant to introduce iconic content like The Walking Dead, Mad Men, Portlandia, Bridezillas and many more to a new generation of viewers whose first stop is increasingly becoming alternative video platforms.
In early 2020, the viewer-first strategy was formulated and since then access to AMC Networks content has been proliferating with partners both on the TV hardware side, such as a recently announced partnership with VIZIO TV SmartCast Free Live linear-streaming to provide five custom networks, all ad-supported and free to the consumer to enjoy. Those networks include AMC Presents with both classic AMC content and unscripted originals, Rush by AMC that focuses on cast-driven actions and thriller movies, Slightly Off by IFC where you will find comedic content, Absolute Reality by WE tvthe ultimate home for reality TV, and IFC Films Picks with star-studded dramas, documentaries, prestige indies, global cinema and genre films.
AMC Networks has also integrated two channels into Samsung TV Plus, the free linear tv service offered to owners of Samsung's Smart TV.
In addition to TV manufacturers, AMC Networks is also working with other live linear cross platforms and have integrated curated networks into Pluto TV and IMDb TV On IMDb TV those channels include an exclusive, The Walking Dead Universe Experience channel (all Dead, all the time).
Says Adlman, "We see this as all new incremental audiences for our business. That's the big driver of partnering and putting up our channels on these platforms. It's channels that we own and operate and program. This strategy allows us to build a digital pool for inventory allowing our existing customers to extend into areas that are emerging, while allowing us to begin to communicate with new audiences that are outside that typical demo you find within our networks."
As the advertising business continues to embrace impressions as a currency and shows an unending thirst for premium content delivered through IP, this strategy also increases the opportunity to appeal to those marketers seeking a home for dollars targeting audiences, especially programmatically. Adlman says, "What's really exciting is that through our data products, we are seeing net new audiences on these platforms. We're seeing viewership increase month over month, and we are seeing returning viewership."
Content is not the only focus of this viewer-first strategy; advertisers are as well. AMCN Digital is the brand being born from these new partnerships which is cohesively aligned with the linear sales team, in a one-stop shop model that represents inventory on all AMCN owned and operated apps, the FASTs, integrations across social media, and even on new, emerging platforms. Advertisers can now access the new depth of scale while continuing to work with the great partners they know within AMC.
Given the massive first party viewership and engagement data that AMC Networks has across a multitude of audiences and audience types, targeting capabilities with AMCN Digital is a key focus of the offering. Says Adlman, "All of the digital inventory is DSP (Demand Side Platform) agnostic and can be targeted with first- or second-party data. We are being as transparent as possible, whether you buy us through direct sales or programmatically. Our focus is always on the consumer experience and ensuring they have the smoothest experience in consuming our premium programming."
By letting the consumer lead, AMC Networks is bringing a new generation and a new supply of high quality, high production value content to advertisers in new emerging ways, and that sounds more like a new birth than the walking dead.
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