AMC Networks gets a new CEO as it adapts to streaming

AMC Networks, of ‘The Walking Dead’ and critically acclaimed ‘Better Call Saul’ fame, has named Christina Spade as its new CEO, taking over from the New York entertainment company’s interim CEO, Matt Blank.

Spade, whose appointment was announced Friday, joined the company in January 2021 and has served as chief financial officer and chief operating officer. Previously, she held senior positions at Viacom and ViacomCBS, the forerunners of today’s Paramount Global.

AMC Networks, which owns a number of cable channels and streaming services including AMC, BBC America, Sundance TV and Acorn TV, has been led by Blank since September after Ed Carroll resigned after 25 years at the company. Blank, a cable industry veteran who oversaw the search for the CEO, worked with Spade when both were at Paramount’s Showtime Networks.

The change at the top comes as AMC Networks seeks to steer the TV industry’s transition to streaming. The company has added new subscribers to its streaming channels – it added 10.8 million subscribers in the second quarter, up from 7.4 million a year ago.

But its traditional cable business continues to face pressure from cable cuts and falling viewership.

The company’s second-quarter revenue ($738 million) and earnings ($153.2 million) missed expectations. AMC shares are down 9% on Friday morning.

AMC Entertainment expects revenue growth in the low single digits for 2022, and operating income is expected to decline 10% for the year due to increased investment in technology, content and marketing, the company said.

Spade was Chief Financial Officer at CBS Corp prior to its merger with Viacom. She retained her role there after the companies merged. She spent 21 years on Showtime in various roles.

“Chris is a strong, multifaceted leader who I have known and worked closely with for more than 20 years and I know she will bring her strong business and leadership skills and passion for this company to her new role,” so Blank said in a statement.

AMC Networks has often been cited as a potential takeover target for a larger media company. But the company, controlled by Charles Dolan and his family, has carved its own path in developing niche streaming services to complement its mature linear cable TV networks.

The company has also grappled with fluctuations in its creative ranks in recent years, with Sara Barnett stepping down as President of AMC Networks Group in 2020, just 18 months after she succeeded Charlie Collier. Veteran program manager Dan McDermott took over in October.

AMC also announced that Patrick O’Connell will succeed Spade as Chief Financial Officer. He comes to the company from Branded, a consumer e-commerce company, where he led strategic planning, financing and acquisitions. AMC Networks gets a new CEO as it adapts to streaming

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