AMC Networks to Lay off 10% of U.S. Staff Following Strategic Shift

Elaine Low
·2-min read

AMC Networks is laying off around 100 staffers, or 10% of its domestic employee base, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The personnel reduction comes in the wake of a strategic evaluation that has turned the spotlight to the network’s biggest growth drivers — primarily, its streaming efforts. The announcement came by way of AMC Networks CEO and president Josh Sapan, who announced the changes to the company’s staff through a virtual town hall on Wednesday.

Deadline first reported the news.

Sapan said in the company’s third-quarter call two weeks ago that increasing revenue from subscription streaming services was becoming one of its fastest areas of growth. AMC has four subscription on demand platforms — Acorn TV, Shudder, Sundance Now and UMC — and is offering a new subscription bundle, AMC Plus, that provides ad-free programming from AMC, BBC America and other networks. Sapan expects the end 2020 with over 4 million collective subscribers to the four niche services and 5 million to 5.5 million total subs when factoring in AMC Plus.

“As streaming continues to be a powerful force shaping TV today, we believe our offerings will continue to appeal consumers, looking to go deeper in the content categories that they love and identify with,” said Sapan on Nov. 2. “And they will continue to purchase our offerings along the side, the general entertainment SVOD offerings. While we’re still in the early stages of growth, our progress to-date supports our conviction in the potential of these specialized SVOD offerings.”

AMC Networks is not the only entertainment entity to enact layoffs, as the industry grapples with major merger-related reorganizations as well as the ongoing pandemic, which is stretching out into its ninth month. Earlier on Wednesday, NBCUniversal began implementing additional layoffs across its entertainment networks, helmed by Frances Berwick, impacting fewer than 5% of its workforce in its TV and streaming division. And in yet another round of layoffs this year, ViacomCBS let go of around 100 employees as the merger between Viacom and CBS continues to translate to streamlining — and personnel cuts — a year after the deal’s close.

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