AMC Networks CEO Josh Sapan's Pay Drops Slightly to $20.2 Million

Josh Sapan
Courtesy of AMC Networks

AMC Networks CEO Josh Sapan

The boss of the company behind 'The Walking Dead' home AMC, IFC, Sundance Channel and WE tv had made $20.6 million in 2018.

AMC Networks president and CEO Josh Sapan received compensation worth $20.2 million in 2019, down 2 percent compared with $20.6 million in 2018 and $29.6 million in 2017.

The company behind The Walking Dead home AMC, IFC, Sundance Channel and WE tv disclosed Sapan's pay in a regulatory filing. The CEO had made $30.5 million in 2016, following $17.7 million in 2015 and $40.3 million in 2014, when he benefited from an amended and restated employment agreement that included a onetime special equity retention award.

Sapan last year received an annual salary of $2 million, the same as in the previous two years. He also earned $13.8 million in stock awards and $4.3 million in nonequity incentive plan compensation, both slightly down from 2018. His "other compensation" dropped from $120,786 to $20,786, as he didn't get the "excess savings plan match" in 2019 that he had received in 2018.

The regulatory filing also revealed the compensation for other AMC Networks top executives, including chief operating officer Sean Sullivan, who saw his 2019 pay package fall to $5.1 million from $10.2 million in 2018.

CFO Edward Carroll received $8.4 million in overall pay last year, just down from $8.7 million in 2018. And executive chairman Charles Dolan also saw a slight dip in his 2019 compensation to $2.75 million from $2.83 million in 2018.

AMC Networks' stock rose slightly in 2018 even as Wall Street continued to debate weaker ratings for The Walking Dead and how easy it would be for the company to create new hit shows. Its adjusted earnings per share rose 18 percent last year.

AMC Networks has focused on content creation where it retains the ownership rights and targets subscription VOD services to position itself in a fast-changing digital space. The company has also distinguished itself in the streaming market with niche offerings — Acorn TV and Shudder, to name two — that aim to complement market leaders like Netflix and Amazon Prime, rather than go head-to-head with generalist competitors.

AMC Networks' stock in 2019 fell 28 percent in 2019. Its revenue rose 3 percent, with operating income down 14 percent and net income down 15 percent, but adjusted earnings up 3 percent.

While The Walking Dead has seen continued ratings declines, the company has been growing its niche streaming services, which include Anglophile-centric Acorn TV, horror streamer Shudder, Sundance Now and UMC (Urban Movie Channel). AMC Networks in December said that the four streaming video services have passed 2 million combined subscribers.