AMC Networks Sets Slate Of Digital Originals To Be Produced By In-House Brand Agency In Upfronts Push

AMC Networks

Looking to expand opportunities for advertisers beyond pay-TV, AMC Networks has set a slate of original digital series to be produced by the studio arm of its in-house brand agency, The Content Room.

The shows, which connect with marquee properties from across the AMC Networks portfolio, offer another option for media buyers looking for a new route to consumers increasingly less tethered to pay-TV. Individual portfolio meetings with advertisers will start the week of April 5.

A model for the new originals, the company said, is its successful home-grown franchise, Bottomless Brunch at Colman’s, created and hosted by Fear the Walking Dead’s Colman Domingo. The show began as a digital short during the initial onset of Covid-19 and is now a Diageo-sponsored series featured across many concurrent platforms. It spans YouTube and IGTV, streams on SVOD, AVOD and free, ad-supported channels, runs on linear TV on the SundanceTV network, and is available as a podcast.

The new digital originals slate is being created through the company’s Content Room original studio arm, AMCN Digital Originals.

New projects in development include:

Better Call Saul Employee Training – A new season of the Emmy-winning digital series featuring all-new characters from Better Call Saul.

Slippin’ Jimmy – An animated series also derived from the world of Saul. It follows the adventures of young Jimmy and Chuck McGill and friends back home in Cicero, IL. Created in the retro style of Fat Albert, each episode nods to everything from spaghetti Westerns to Buster Keaton to After Hours.

Dead in the Water – A scripted series tying into Season 6 of Fear the Walking Dead and telling the story of a submarine crew fighting for survival.

Cooper’s Bar – Executive produced and co-directed by Better Call Saul’s Rhea Seehorn, the show is about the dream of one man (character actor Louis Mustillo) to create the perfect tiki bar experience in the backyard of his LA bungalow.

“We have a long history of creating award-winning original digital content that engages our passionate audiences. As we develop and curate new, high-quality ad-supported environments, we are marrying our proven creative ability with expanded reach, opening up new distinct destinations for our fans and meaningful opportunities for our advertising partners, all sold through our AMCN Digital offering,” said Kim Kelleher, president of commercial revenue and partnerships for AMC Networks.

AMC Networks operates a growing portfolio of owned-and-operated subscription streaming services like Shudder and AMC+. But it has also leveraged original programming to create channels and offerings for ad-supported streaming platforms like Pluto, Plex and Samsung Plus.

In addition to the digital originals, the Content Room has aligned with non-profit organizations Conservation International, SeeHer, and Save Our Stages. The partnerships will aim to support a range of educational, advocacy and awareness initiatives.

Also, AMC Networks has launched an enhanced version of Upfront Connect, a planning, creative content and information tool that builds on the online resource launched last spring. The company’s plans for a full-tilt, traditional upfront at New York arts venue The Shed a year ago dissipated due to Covid-19.

Upfront Connect features updated calendars and information about original programming, as well as full episodes and marketing materials.

“Upfront Connect started as a virtual quick-fix in a difficult situation last year as people shifted to remote work and has become a mainstay of how we do business with our clients today and will far into the future,” Kelleher said. “Our 2.0 version takes everything we learned last year and amplifies the most popular elements to deliver an entirely new experience we know will remain a cornerstone of our upfront conversations and service-oriented information exchange with our clients.”

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