AMC Networks CFO: There Is "Not Enough Good" TV
Sean Sullivan also tells an investor conference that the company was "pleased" with hit show 'The Walking Dead' despite lower ratings this season.
AMC Networks CFO Sean Sullivan on Wednesday touted the continuing strength of hit show The Walking Dead despite lower overnight ratings early this season, and said despite an explosion of original shows there isn't too much TV content.
FX Networks CEO John Landgraf has this year suggested that there was a glut of originals and expressed concern that it makes it harder for shows to become hits.
"There is no question that there has been an explosion in terms of the number of people producing, the number of platforms that are offering scripted dramas," said Sullivan at the Morgan Stanley European Technology, Media & Telecom Conference in Barcelona. "The good news is, I think, we had a bit of a headstart. I think we have a great development pipeline. And how do we break through? I don’t think there is too much TV. I think there is not enough good television."
The value of serialized scripted drama has been enhanced by digital platforms, international distribution and the like, he said, describing why AMC Networks continues to develop more original shows.
AMC continues to look for "things that are immersive" and resonate with a passionate audience, he said about the company and its flagship network's programming focus.
Asked about the lower Walking Dead ratings so far this season, Sullivan said: "We are obviously thrilled and pleased to have the number one show on all of television." He added that, in terms of creativity, this season is "as good as any" and reiterated his CEO Josh Sapan's recent comments that the company treats it as a franchise — one with revenue opportunities in gaming live events and other fields outside of TV.
Sullivan said five episodes into the season, the show has "a fair amount of augmented audience on the live-plus-3 basis." While he said that "the numbers are large, [and] things don't grow forever," he emphasized that "we’re pleased with it" and that the show has led to successful companion series Fear the Walking Dead.
About Fear the Walking Dead, he said first-season ratings were strong and made it the number one cable show ever launched. And overall, the broader franchise's numbers, both in terms of ratings and financials, are pleasing, the CFO said, adding: "There is great demand across multiple platforms."
While Time Warner has said it would consider holding on to digital rights for TV shows longer, Sullivan said AMC Networks felt good about its approach of making its originals available on SVOD platforms with a year's delay. "One year protects everybody’s window and value," he said.