Many television channels view timeshifting services as bad for business, but not AMC. The network reported sizable ratings boosts for “The Walking Dead” and “Mad Men” due in part, it says, to Netflix and other online streaming services.
Last year, Netflix purchased the exclusive rights to stream every back episode of AMC shows “Mad Men,” “Breaking Bad,” and “The Walking Dead.”
According to DigitalTrends, AMC reported that its revenues were up about 40 percent in the first three months of 2012. Profits were up 20 percent thanks to strong ratings and performance of the new season “The Walking Dead.”
They haven’t been shy about vocalizing the role of Netflix in their ratings. Part of the reason for the network’s success, according to CEO Josh Sapan, was the working with Netflix and Amazon.
2012 got off to a strong start for AMC Networks, with double digit increases in net revenues, AOCF and operating income,” Sapan said. “Continued viewer enthusiasm for our programming resulted in ratings gains for our national networks, most notably AMC’s The Walking Dead, which ended its second season with nine million total viewers, an increase of 50 percent over last season’s finale. The series reigns as the highest-rated scripted drama in basic cable history in advertiser’s key demos. The fifth season of AMC’s Mad Men currently ranks as the most watched season ever of the series, outperforming the prior season by double-digits. These successes underscore the strength of our original programming strategy, which continues to drive audience and advertiser demand for our networks.”
According to the Wall Street Journal, Sapan later went into more detail during a conference call,
New viewers are finding these shows on a digital service, catching up on prior seasons and then tuning into AMC for new seasons in greater numbers, many for the first time.”
AMC isn’t without its problems though. Dish Networks, a satellite TV operator, has decided to drop the channel from its lineup. Dish cited low ratings as the reason for the cut, but said it was the result of ongoing litigation between the two companies over its participation in Voom HD, a collection of HD channels that Dish decided to pick up, but dropped in 2008.
However, “The Walking Dead” continues to do extremely well on the channel. After premiering in October 2010, it has broken several ratings records and continues to be well received by critics and viewers. It has also received many award nominations, including a Writers Guild of America Award nomination and a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Television Series Drama. The series has also attained strong Nielsen ratings, beating various records for a cable series, including receiving 9 million viewers for its season two finale to become the most-watched basic cable drama telecast in history.