Max and AMC Networks CEOs Casey Bloys and Kristin Dolan say their cross-platform licensing collaboration experiment that ended this week was a success – and may become more common as the streaming landscape evolves.
“‘Interview with the Vampire’ was the newest show that they had, and ‘A Discovery of Witches’ also did pretty well,” HBO CEO Casey Bloys told TheWrap during a Thursday press event for HBO and Max. The executive noted the success was “not surprising” because these titles were new to Max subscribers.
“It was a nice experiment,” Bloys said. “I don’t know what it means for AMC+, but it is nice to have those titles on our on our service.”
From September 1 to October 31, Warner Bros. Discovery’s streaming offering Max added seven AMC originals to its platform. Those new additions included “Anne Rice’s Interview with a Vampire,” “Dark Winds,” “Gangs of London,” “Fear the Walking Dead,” “Killing Eve,” “A Discovery of Witches” and “Ride with Norman Reedus.”
During AMC Networks’ 2023 third quarter earnings call, the company reported that the experiment resulted in viewership increases on AMC+ for “Fear the Walking Dead,” “Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire” and “Anne Rice’s Mayfair Witches.”
HBO also has a similar co-exclusivity deal with Netflix. When asked whether HBO will continue these collaborative experiments, Bloys noted, “I think everybody is.”
“It’s kind of exciting, because, whereas a couple of years ago, we probably would have said, ‘No AMC shows on here.’ Now we’re like, ‘I don’t know, let’s try it,’” Bloys said. “I don’t know. I guess there’s just a lot more openness. We’ll see what happens.”
During AMC Networks’ earnings call, the company’s CEO Kristin Dolan noted that AMC is “thrilled” with the viewership the company’s titles received on Max. This included increased viewership for titles that were not current. She also noted that the value of the partnership lies both in driving attention to AMC+ as well as the financial benefits that come with direct licensing agreements.
“We got a lot of exposure for our brands. We then saw uptick, again, in utilization on AMC+ of the current seasons of shows like ‘Dark Winds’ and some of the other shows that we put on Max,” Dolan said.
Since the experiment ended days ago, the CEO noted that AMC is currently working with Warner Bros. Discovery on results and to see how the company can “parlay this forward” as it thinks of ways to expand the visibility of its content and partner with other companies to best serve its customers.
“Everything old is new again, when you talk about bundles,” Dolan said. “Whether it’s a triple play of telecommunications offerings or a neatly packaged set of programming offering, it benefits the consumer, and we want to play in that space.”
As the company has stated before, it’s interested in becoming a pure play programmer, meaning that AMC’s focus is predominantly on its content rather than its distribution channels. In that regard, the company sees its own streaming offering — AMC+ — as “more as as an extension of our linear offering” rather than a strict competitor to bigger streamers such as Max, Netflix or Hulu. That puts the company in an interesting position during this competitive streaming climate.
“We have more flexibility to experiment. We have longstanding relationships in the industry, so it’s fun to get together and brainstorm and think about opportunities and put them in the marketplace,” Dolan said. “Our goal here is really to be a lean, mean distribution machine to create great content and get it out everywhere we possibly can.”
The collaboration between AMC and Max is similar to one HBO currently has with Netflix. In June, Warner Bros. Discovery and Netflix entered into a licensing deal that put shows such as “Insecure,” “Ballers,” “Band of Brothers,” “Six Feet Under” and “The Pacific” on the streaming behemoth. All of these series are co-exclusive, meaning audiences can watch the aforementioned programming on both Max and Netflix.
“We’re experimenting a lot,” Bloys told TheWrap. “When an HBO show, like a library title, goes co-exclusive with Netflix, you’re exposing the show to a new ecosystem.”