AMC Networks is adding new content to its streaming service for those who would rather listen than watch.
The company announced today at the Television Critics Association (TCA) Press Tour that it is adding podcasts to its subscription video-on-demand service (SVOD), Sundance Now. The first addition will be the network’s first-ever scripted podcast, “Exeter.” Created by indie writer/director Ronnie Gunter (“Lighter”) and starring Jeanne Tripplehorn (“Big Love,” “Grey Gardens”) and Ray McKinnon (“Rectify,” “Sons of Anarchy,” “Deadwood”), the podcast will premiere on the service in September 2018.
The six-episode crime mystery, produced by Insurrection Media, will be further brought to life with dynamic captioning — also known as ‘kinetic typography’ — a process by which words and phrases in the character’s dialogue are animated to underscore emotion and heighten tension. This marks the first time this process has been utilized for a scripted dramatic podcast.
“Sundance Now could not be more excited to be entering the scripted podcast space with such a riveting story, brilliantly brought to life by two outstanding actors — the indomitable Jeanne Tripplehorn and Ray McKinnon, whom we are thrilled to have back in the Sundance fold,” said Jan Diedrichsen, General Manager, Sundance Now. “‘Exeter’ embodies the best of the Sundance brand – it’s high-quality, engaging storytelling that we know our audience responds to, with an innovative twist in the form of dynamic captioning. We are particularly excited about this process, as it will provide unprecedented access to audio content for our deaf audience.”
Scripted podcasts have grown in popularity over the past few years with audio networks like Gimlet Media and Wondery helping lead the way. Not only do audio stories reach new audiences in places video can’t (like at the gym during a workout or in a car while driving), they also provide a more affordable way for networks to test out IP that they may then adapt for video. Gimlet Media, for example, has seen three of its podcasts transformed into television series. “Homecoming,” one of the network’s most popular audio series, was picked up by Amazon for two seasons; Disney-owned ABC is developing “Alex Inc,” a sitcom based on the podcast “Startup,” which tracked Gimlet Media’s founding by former National Public Radio producer Alex Blumberg; and “Man Of The People,” a feature starring Robert Downey Jr. from Annapurna Pictures, which takes its inspiration from an episode of the podcast “Reply All.”