Technology is reshaping the way that marketers reach target audiences, and AMC Networks is at the forefront of testing methods to help advertisers boost the efficiency of their media buys. The network also has partnered with a variety of media-buying platforms to expand their inventories.
“Our mentality was: We have a ‘viewers-first’ mentality around distribution, let’s develop a ‘buyers-first’ mentality around how we transact,'” Kim Kelleher, president of advertising sales and partnerships at AMC, said in an interview for the Beet TV/VAB “TV Reset” forum. “We have nothing to hide and everything to gain by showing how an audience is going to perform.”
Kelleher described AMC’s advertiser-focused strategy in a conversation with Mike Law, president of Amplifi USA, the media agency owned by Dentsu Aegis Network. AMC’s strategy includes partnerships with media-buying platforms and pilot programs to test addressable advertising.
AMC was among the networks that this year joined Xandr Invest, the platform from AT&T’s Xandr ad-tech unit that gives advertisers a way to reach 76% of U.S. households. The company didn’t stop there, and last month announced its participation in the OpenAP consortium, which is a rival to Xandr. AMC also is integrated with Dentsu’s M1 platform for media buying, Kelleher said.
As for addressable advertising, AMC last month become the first major network to join the On Addressability initiative from cable providers Comcast, Charter and Cox to target linear TV and video on demand households. AMC also is piloting the Project OAR consortium and researcher Nielsen’s addressable advertising solution that aim to provide better ad targeting.
AMC’s “viewer-first” mentality comes as many U.S. households are canceling pay-TV subscriptions while hooking up their TVs directly to the internet. The resulting shift in media consumption has challenged traditional cable and satellite TV networks to develop programming for streaming platforms, while also serving the millions of viewers who haven’t cut the cord.
AMC Networks is adapting to these changes in viewing behaviors by collaborating with digital platforms that help to extend its reach, cultivate new audiences and deepen connections with existing viewers.
“As long as we keep the viewer at the center, we’re going to win,” Kelleher said. “Where the viewer is, the advertiser will always follow, if they can.”
Kelleher pointed to AMC’s strategy with “The Walking Dead,” the long-running horror series that’s the highest-rated scripted show on cable TV. While the series draws millions of viewers who like “appointment viewing” at a set time, the network has developed ways to engage those audiences after each episode.
The company teamed with Reddit, the news and discussion website, to give fans of “The Walking Dead” a way to talk about each episode, Kelleher said. Those social conversations help to keep viewers coming back to the show.
“We know exactly what we are, and we are looking forward to partnerships and innovation on expanding that footprint,” Kelleher said.
Because AMC doesn’t own an advertising-based video on demand (AVOD) service, the network is finding ways to work with streaming platforms to extend its brand and reach a new audience. AMC recently collaborated with Pluto TV, the AVOD service that ViacomCBS bought this year for $340 million, on an exclusive channel called “AMC Stories.”
The channel is airing the first five seasons of “The Walking Dead” to connect with younger audiences who are using streaming platforms to discover hit shows from yesteryear like “Friends” or “Seinfeld.”
“Season one of ‘The Walking Dead’ is hugely valuable right now because there’s a whole new audience of people that are ready to discover it,” Kelleher said.
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