AMC+ launches ad-supported tier for $5 per month

AMC Networks has officially started rolling out an ad-supported version of its AMC+ streaming service, priced at $4.99 per month.

It makes good on executive comments since April that the company would start to offer a lower-cost version with ads. Pricing for the ad-free plan, $8.99 per month, remains the same. Out of the gate the ad-supported tier of AMC+ is only available on its direct-to-consumer platform and apps, with plans to expand to third-party platforms and providers in the coming weeks.

AMC+ with ads offers all of the same TV series and films that are available on the ad-free version. That includes premium original series and franchises such as The Walking Dead (with spinoff series The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon currently in premiere), and recent hits like Anne Rice’s Interview with a Vampire. Subscribers to either tier also get full access to AMC’s streaming services Shudder, Sundance Now, and IFC Films Unlimited, along with linear networks AMC, BBC America, IFC, and Sundance TV. , The company promised a “light ad load” of less than five minutes per hour.

“This ad-supported version of AMC+ gives consumers more flexibility while bringing ads to the only piece of our distribution ecosystem that wasn’t already ad-supported,” said Kim Kelleher, chief commercial officer of AMC Networks, in a statement. “Now, with our linear networks, strong and growing presence on CTV and FAST platforms and ad-supported AMC+, our advertising partners can fully leverage the reach and appeal of our high-quality shows and connect with viewers wherever and however they choose to watch.”

AMC Networks has pursued streaming while still keeping content on its traditional linear networks, though that business has felt industry pressure in the face of cord-cutting and an ad market slump. Across its streaming businesses, AMC ended Q2 with 11 million subscribers and marked 13% year over year streaming revenue growth.

During first quarter earnings, AMC Networks CEO Kristin Dolan, who joined the company in February, pointed to the company’s strategy around distribution across as many platforms as possible, while zeroing in on content for specific audiences rather than attempting to be something for everyone.

"We are breaking down remaining walls and silos that divided areas and categories of our business, and operating as one focused company, making content and delivering it to viewers across all platforms," Dolan said in May.

That includes licensing, with AMC getting into the free ad-supported streaming TV (FAST) space, including bringing streaming linear channels and on-demand content to Vizio’s WatchFree+ platform and The Roku Channel, among others.

AMC has pointed to advertising as a long-term revenue driver and the launch of an ad-supported AMC+ tier plays into that, with the company citing “dozens of advertisers already on board” at launch and the promise of new formats made possible in a CTV environment.

“We are also able to offer marketers new and innovative ways to reach consumers, like interactive and shoppable ads, more flexibility in product integrations, whole genre takeovers and other tech-enabled enhancements that weren’t possible before,” AMC COO Kelleher stated in announcing the ad-supported tier.

New ad formats and options available on AMC+ with ads include interactive ad units, squeeze-back screens during “Next On” promos, shoppable ads, overlays, ad-break trivia, inserted integrations and episodic takeovers, among others.

And when the company in April first disclosed plans for an ad-supported AMC+ version, it also unveiled Audience+, an insights and data targeting platform designed to help advertisers target specific audiences across the company’s linear and digital distribution platforms.

“Never before have we been able to pull all of our viewership across all platforms, into one unduplicated view and see who is watching, what they are watching and when across linear, VOD, and all CTV streaming, to map a path to viewers across all of our shows and platforms,” stated Evan Adlman, AMC Network’s EVP of commercial sales and revenue operations in April. The executive added that advertisers could take one targeted data segments and ““singularly deliver it across all our linear networks and CTV streaming channels, inclusive of AMC+.”