AMC Networks Chief Josh Sapan’s Pay Dropped 41% in 2020

President and CEO’s stock awards more than halved

josh sapan
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Like all of us, 2020 was a year Josh Sapan would sooner forget. The AMC Networks’ president and CEO’s pay fell 41% from 2019, mostly do to a giant decline in stock awards.

He’ll be OK: Sapan still made $11.8 million.

Sapan’s salary remained unchanged at $2 million flat in 2020. His stock awards sunk from $13.8 million in 2019 to $5.6 million last year.

Sapan shed $132,000 year-to-year in non-equity incentive plan compensation, though he recovered about $42,000 of that in the catch-all category “All Other Compensation,” according to a Friday filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Chief Operating Officer Ed Carroll is now the second-highest-paid top executive at AMC Networks. (That distinction used to belong to former CFO Sean Sullivan, as recently as 2018. Sullivan resigned in October 2020.) In 2020, Carroll’s compensation fell from $8.4 million to $6.7 million.

Carroll’s declines pretty much played out the same way as Sapan’s, just with smaller numbers attached.

Charles F. Dolan, who resigned as AMC Networks executive chairman in mid-September 2020, made $1.9 million last year.

Also on Friday, rival cable company Discovery revealed the 2020 executive pay of its own president and chief executive officer, David Zaslav. Despite an $8.1 million pay cut, Zaslav still hauled in nearly $38 million.

That’s big-time money, of course, but it was a multi-year low for the well-compensated Zaslav. In 2019, the Discovery boss earned $45.8 million. In 2018, a massive option award brought Zaslav’s pay up to nearly $130 million.

Last year, AMC Networks topped its own projection for streaming subscribers, enlisting more than 6 million by the end of 2020.

That subscriber growth, which is up 157% from 2019, counts customers across AMC Networks’ AMC+ (which launched last June on Comcast’s Xfinity X1 and Xfinity Flex and has since expanded to Dish, Sling TV, Apple TV and Amazon’s Prime Video), Acorn TV, Shudder, Sundance Now and ALLBLK.

AMC Networks’ revenue decreased 8% from 2019 to 2020. Operating income was down about 19% last year, and that was after some significant adjustments.


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