Thursday, July 31, 2014

AMC Nets - Eat Or Be Eaten

With all the media moves being made on the distribution front, Comcast and Time Warner Cable, AT&T and DirecTv, and on the content front with Fox trying to buy Time Warner, consolidation has become the key buzzword.  To remain competitive and to build leverage, strength comes with size and content needs that size to demand higher license fees for its programming. 

Speculation on how will do the acquiring and who will be acquired have included nets like Discovery, Scripps, and AMC Networks. Well it seems that AMC would rather eat than be eaten.  It has mad a bid to own a major piece of BBC America.  Once sold by Discovery Networks, although never owned by them, BBC America has been a small but steady network.  And like AMC, BBC has distributed some original programming, like Orphan Black, that has received critical attention.  These two nets have partnered in the past so such a move could be a good programming fit.

But the question is whether it is enough to maintain independence or simply delay it.  AMC owners, the Dolan family, have demonstrated that they can both buy networks, like Sundance Channel, and also sell networks, including Bravo Network to NBC and fuse to Nuvo.  They spun off both AMC Nets and MSG into separate companies from each other as well as from its cable distribution arm, Cablevision Systems.  So if the timing and dollars are right, AMC Networks could take either approach.  If staying strong is the approach, a BBC America acquisition may not be enough to stay independent. 

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