AMC Networks to cut 10% of US staff as streaming restructure revealed

Josh Sapan

AMC Networks is cutting around 10% of its US staff, as it become the latest media operator to refocus its efforts on streaming amid the pandemic.

Around 100 members of staff are set to be affected following the revamp, which will see it put more emphasis on its OTT services rather than its traditional networks.

Details of which divisions will be most affected were not revealed by AMC’s CEO Josh Sapan, who told staff about the plans on a company-wide call yesterday.

AMC’s SVOD bouquet includes recently launched AMC+, horror streamer Shudder and true crime/drama offering Sundance Now, along with British content-skewing Acorn TV and Urban Move Channel (UMC).

Laying the groundwork

The cuts, first reported by US trade Deadline, and the re-focusing on OTT follow comments from Sapan during his recent Q3 investor call that highlighted the surging revenues of AMC’s streaming portfolio, which is set to count more than 5 million subscribers by the end of the year.

A Suitable Boy

AMC has also recently expanded the reach of Acorn TV across Europe, with the streamer also taking rights to a slew of dramas including A Suitable Boy and joining an adaptation of PD James’ Inspector Dalgliesh Mysteries with ViacomCBS-owned UK broadcaster Channel 5.

The cuts also follow the exits of several key execs, including AMC Networks Entertainment Group president Sarah Barnett who left in July and WE tv’s president Marc Juris, whose exit emerged late last month.

AMC also expanded the remit of its SVOD president Miguel Penella in September to include the company’s recently launched flagship streaming service AMC+.

His responsibilities include oversight of Acorn TV, Sundance Now, UMC and Shudder, with the latter recently becoming the second of the company’s streamers to surpass one million subscribers.

The latest developments at AMC come amid a raft of cost-cutting in the US, as companies attempt to deal with the pandemic and putting more emphasis on streaming.

Disney has slashed almost 30,000 jobs and enacted a wholesale restructure of its DTC operations, while NBCUniversal has revamped its TV and streaming operation and WarnerMedia recently began its latest round of layoffs, described by CEO Jason Kilar as a “painful” but “critical” step as it attempts to double down on streaming.

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