Kristin Dolan, who took over earlier this year as CEO of AMC Networks, said the company is “very well positioned” to manage through the WGA strike.
Speaking on the company’s first-quarter earnings call, Dolan said AMC Networks is in good shape “through this year and into next year, so we have no real concerns about the writers strike at this point.”
Guild members officially began striking a week ago and early indications are that the labor impasse could last for months. The impact has been spreading across the TV landscape, with late-night shows going dark and other productions gradually being disrupted. Media CEOs have been in the spotlight during quarterly earnings season, with Paramount’s Bob Bakish and Warner Bros Discovery’s David Zaslav generating headlines with their respective takes.
AMC Networks has undergone significant layoffs, with 20% of employees cut at the end of 2022. On the programming front, the company is spending in the range of $1 billion a year on series like Mayfair Witches from the Anne Rice universe and new spinoffs from The Walking Dead franchise.
On both linear TV and streaming, the company relies on advertising revenue. While the overall numbers were strong in the quarter, ad revenue dropped 20%. The company blamed the decline on “anticipated linear ratings declines, softness in the advertising market and fewer original programming episodes.”
Streaming, specifically the niche focus of the company’s portfolio and outlets like Shudder and AcornTV, has been an increasingly important strategic objective. The company shed 300,000 subscribers in the quarter, settling at 11.5 million. It has previously set a target of 20 million to 25 million streaming subscribers by 2025, indicating that streaming will soon overtake traditional linear TV as a revenue source.