1 Thing That Could Really Mean Trouble For AMC
BritBox International (BBI), the streaming service co-owned by the British company TVI (LSE:ITV) and BBC Studios, has restructured its business and says it wants to become the world leader in UK content streaming. However, BBC Studios and ITV already have an ongoing relationship with AMC Entertainment Holdings (NYSE: AMC)which could prove problematic, especially since AMC is betting on exponential growth.
Create distinct markets and new content
BBI recently announced that it is separating its business into two separate units: BBI International Markets, which oversees Australia, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, South Africa and all future territories; and BBI North America, which covers the United States and Canada.
Speaking at an event to raise awareness of the change, BBI CEO Reemah Sakaan said she believes the North American division will be key to the streamer’s overall success. As part of this strategy, Sakaan suggested the company expand its offerings so it doesn’t just repackage content from its parent companies. In a conversation with DeadlineSakaan said BBI is open to introductions from US-based production teams, noting that any collaboration should work in different markets.
BBI’s goals could complicate AMC’s ambitions
In its latest quarterly earnings call, AMC noted that its strategy of operating multiple streaming platforms “that appeal to audiences with distinct affinities and passions” has proven successful. The company said its diverse offerings, which include horror-centric Sundance Now, Shudder, and foreign content service Acorn TV, have built customer loyalty and kept churn rates low. AMC also cited this approach as it plans to more than double its subscriber count to 25 million by 2025.
Of course, AMC’s “distinct affinity” credentials include its wide range of UK content. The company has licensed and co-produced dozens of shows set in the UK, many of which are direct partnerships with ITV and BBC Studios. Additionally, AMC and BBC Studios jointly own and operate BBC America.
However, with BBI making North America a central part of its operations, it is possible that ITV and BBC Studios will reduce their relationship with AMC. After all, if the owners of BBI continued to partner with a rival streamer, it would surely undermine its stated goals.
AMC has a stake in BBI
Adding another wrinkle to all of this is the fact that AMC has a minority stake in BBI, despite having no voting rights. Of course, the complicated relationship between BBI and AMC has been there from the start – historically Acorn TV operated as a direct competitor, offering UK programming exclusively. But now that BBI is pushing to become the main venue for UK-based shows, it’s possible AMC will now regret taking a quiet stance.
Of course, it remains to be seen whether competition from BBI will affect AMC’s ambitious growth projections. BBI does not provide subscriber numbers, which makes comparison with AMC affiliates impossible. However, if ITV and BBC Studios pull out of licensing deals and co-production deals, it could be a sign that AMC will have to develop new transatlantic partnerships if it wants to retain its Anglophile subscribers.
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