AMC launches flagship channel internationally

Josh Sapan

Josh Sapan

AMC Networks is launching its flagship AMC channel internationally.

The US-listed channel operator is rebranding the MGM channel, which it took ownership of as part of its US$1 billion (€745 million) deal for Chellomedia, meaning AMC will roll out in Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa.

The MGM channel is programmed with movies from the Hollywood Studio and third-parties and the rebrand to AMC will see these supplemented with core series from the US AMC cable net. AMC moved for Chellomedia in late 2013. That gave it a group of channels including MGM, which Chello had acquired in 2012.

It was already running the MGM channel in a joint venture in some regions and took full control as part of that agreement.

The US AMC channel has had several of the biggest cable series ever on its grid in recent years, but shows such as The Walking Dead, Breaking Bad and Mad Men are distributed by third parties, meaning AMC must acquire them outside of the US. However, it is now pushing more heavily into original content, which is coming out of AMC Studios and gives it greater flexibility in terms of international rights.

Two of its original series, Halt & Catch Fire and The Divide, will be on the new international AMC. There will also be accompanying AMC video-on-demand and TV Everywhere services that will launch in tandem with the channel.
Bruce Tuchman engineered the rollout of the MGM channel around the world before joining AMC, where he is currently  president of AMC/Sundance Channel Global.

“There is a huge appetite for AMC original programming abroad,” Tuchman said. “That interest, coupled with our successful history of curating films from all the major studios to complement our original programming, gives us a great opportunity to make AMC Global a top-tier entertainment destination worldwide.”

Speaking about the international launch for AMC, AMC Networks COO Ed Carroll, said:  “In recent years, AMC has redefined dramatic storytelling on pay TV via its cinematic approach to original series, including The Walking Dead, Mad Men, and Breaking Bad. It is our intention to replicate our successful US strategy, extending the AMC brand worldwide and creating a broad pipeline for our original content.”

Earlier this year AMC rebranded Chellomedia to AMC Networks International and it is pushing heavily into international markets following the Chellomedia deal. The US generated over 90% of AMC Networks’ revenues in 2013 – US$404 million versus S$34 million from international – but the acquisition of channel operator Chellomedia means the contribution of international to the overall bottom line jumps from 7% to 20%.

Part of the international expansion is getting first-run rights to series from the US AMC Networks channels: “We are looking forward to moving closer to a point in time where we can deploy our shows on our own platform simultaneously and widely throughout the globe,” CEO Josh Sapan told analysts earlier this year.

Tags: AMC, AMC Networks, MGM