“The Walking Dead” was already the highest-rated show in basic cable history, and last season was the top-rated entertainment show in the 18-49 demo in all of television, trailing only NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” for complete demographic supremacy. Last night’s premiere would be the third most-watched show in all of TV over the past week, trailing only “NCIS,” “The Big Bang Theory” and (depending on the final numbers, which aren’t in yet) the Cowboys-Redskins game it aired directly opposite.
AMC is reporting big ratings boosts for The Walking Dead and Mad Men, thanks in part, it says, to Netflix and other online streaming services.
While many channels and studios seem to see online streaming as a killer of business, the AMC Network seems to be, well, pretty happy with it. Last year, Netflix secured the exclusive rights to stream every back episode of the AMC shows Mad Men and Breaking Bad. The first season of The Walking Dead is also on the streaming service. The deal appears to be a success. AMC reports that its revenues were up about 40 percent in the first three months of 2012, and profits were up 20 percent thanks to strong ratings and performance of the new seasons of Mad Men and The Walking Dead. Part of the reason for their success? According to CEO Josh Sapan, Netflix and Amazon definitely helped.
“2012 got off to a strong start for AMC Networks, with double digit increases in net revenues, AOCF and operating income,” said Sapan. “Continued viewer enthusiasm for our programming resulted in ratings gains for our national networks, most notably AMC’s The Walking Dead, which ended its second season with nine million total viewers, an increase of 50 percent over last season’s finale. The series reigns as the highest-rated scripted drama in basic cable history in advertiser’s key demos. The fifth season of AMC’s Mad Men currently ranks as the most watched season ever of the series, outperforming the prior season by double-digits. These successes underscore the strength of our original programming strategy, which continues to drive audience and advertiser demand for our networks.”
In a conference call with investors yesterday, Sapan was a bit more explicit, according to WSJ: ”New viewers are finding these shows on a digital service, catching up on prior seasons and then tuning into AMC for new seasons in greater numbers, many for the first time.”
He argues that because AMC struck its content deals with companies like Netflix and Amazon in an “extremely careful” way (via THR), it hasn’t hurt the network, but is actually helping to drive the pay TV ecosystem for AMC. Other media companies like Viacom, which owns VH1, Nickelodeon, and other networks, have blamed recent ratings declines on the Internet.
Though ratings and revenues are up, it is not all good news for AMC. Dish Networks, a satellite TV operator, has decided to drop the channel from its lineup. Dish cited poor ratings, but AMC CEO Sapan says that the threat to drop AMC is a direct result of some ongoing litigation between the two companies over its participation in Voom HD, a collection of HD channels that Dish decided to embrace but then drop in 2008.
via press release:
AMC’S “THE ”
MID-SEASON TWO PREMIERE
REIGNS AS THE STRONGEST DRAMA TELECAST
IN BASIC CABLE HISTORY AGAINST KEY DEMOS
8.1 MILLION VIEWERS
5.4 MILLION ADULTS 18-49
4.4 MILLION ADULTS 25-54
New York, NY – February 13, 2012 – Last night, AMC’s mid-season premiere of “” became the strongest telecast for any drama in basic cable history against key demos including 5.4 million adults 18-49 and 4.4 million adults 25-54. These results shatter the previous record, which was held by the series two premiere from October 16th with increases of +12% and +6% respectively. The show delivered 8.1 million viewers for its 9pm premiere and delivered 10.1 million viewers for the night (9pm premiere and 11pm and 12:30 am encores). At 10pm, AMC also premiered its newest unscripted series, “Comic Book Men,” executive produced by Kevin Smith (Clerks, Dogma, Chasing Amy), Charlie Corwin’s Original Media ( , , ) and Elyse Seiden (Red State). The series delivered 2 million total viewers.
Source: The Nielsen Company, Live+SD, M-Su/8P-11P (telecast level data, originals, series-drama program type, 1993-2/12/12). Strongest telecast among A18-49 and A25-54 AA (000).
"It is a great night for AMC. We’re thrilled to see this incredible record breaking response to ‘,’ and ‘Comic Book Men’ is off to a strong start as well. Congratulations to the teams behind both of these shows,” said Charlie Collier, AMC’s president.
Following are the Key Nielsen Highlights:
Mid-season two premiere “”:
- 9pm airing – 5.2 HH with 8.1 million viewers
- 9pm airing - Adults 18-49 delivered 5.4 million viewers
- 9pm airing - Adults 25-54 delivered 4.4 million viewers
- 9 pm, 11 pm and 12:30 am airings – 10.1 million viewers
“” is based on the comic book series written by Robert Kirkman and published by Image Comics. Glen Mazzara serves as series’ showrunner and executive producer. Kirkman, Gale Anne Hurd, David Alpert and Frank Darabont are executive producers with Greg Nicotero as co-executive producer. Season two of the critically acclaimed global hit series continues to deliver the strongest telecasts for any drama in basic cable history against Adults 18-49, as well as, top international pay-TV ratings on Fox International Channels’ (FIC) major markets.
At 10pm, the network premiered its newest unscripted series “Comic Book Men,”
Premiere of “Comic Book Men”
- 10pm airing – 1.3 HH rating with 2 million viewers
- 10pm airing - Adults 18-49 delivered 1.3 million viewers
- 10pm airing - Adults 25-54 delivered 1.1 million viewers
Executive produced by Kevin Smith (Clerks, Dogma, Chasing Amy), Charlie Corwin’s Original Media (, , ) and Elyse Seiden (Red State), the six-part series dives deep into fanboy culture by following the antics in and around master fanboy Kevin Smith’s New Jersey comic shop, Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash, where both staff and customers geek out over mind-blowing pop culture artifacts and the legends behind them.
Leading the crew behind the Secret Stash counter are moody manager Walt, uber-nerd, career slacker Brian, and Ming, the shop’s go-to whipping boy. As the team buys, sells and discovers the treasures of the comic collecting world, they share all the juicy details with Kevin through their outrageous podcast, which is woven throughout the series.
AMC reigns as the only cable network in history to ever win the Emmy® Award for Outstanding Drama Series four years in a row, as well as the Golden Globe® Award for Best Television Series - Drama for three consecutive years. Whether commemorating favorite films from every genre and decade or creating acclaimed original programming, the AMC experience is an uncompromising celebration of great stories. AMC’s original stories include “,” “ ,” “ ,” “The Killing” and “ .” AMC further demonstrates its commitment to the art of storytelling with its slate of unscripted original series, as well as curated movie franchises like AMC’s Can’t Get Enough and AMC’s Crazy About. Available in more than 97 million homes (Source: Nielsen Media Research), AMC is owned and operated by AMC Networks Inc. and its sister networks include IFC, Sundance Channel and WE tv. AMC is available across all platforms, including on-air, online, on demand and mobile. AMC: Story Matters HereSM.