AMC Networks lays off 20% of its 1,000 US employees and CEO exits after three months

The walking dead! AMC Networks lays off 20% of its 1,000 US employees and CEO exits after three months as the cable channel is laid low by streaming

  • AMC Networks on Tuesday said that CEO Christina Spade had stepped down
  • Spade served just three months after taking the job in September
  • AMC will also cut about 20% of its US workforce of about 1,000 employees
  • Chairman James Dolan squarely blamed the shift toward streaming services
  • Network is home to such hits as Breaking Bad, Mad Men, and The Walking Dead 

The CEO of AMC Networks has stepped down in a shock move after just three months on the job, and the company plans to lay off about one-fifth of its US workforce as it faces pressure from streaming competitors and a slowing economy.

The cable network, home to hit shows such as Mad Men, The Walking Dead, Breaking Bad, and Better Call Saul announced the moves in a press release and internal memos on Tuesday.

The layoffs at AMC Networks come at a time when several media companies including Amazon and Facebook-parent Meta Platforms are making deep cuts to their employee base to navigate a potential downturn in the economy. 

AMC Chairman James Dolan blamed the large-scale layoffs on the dramatic shift away from traditional cable in favor of online streaming, a trend known as cord-cutting.

Christina Spade, who served as CEO of AMC Networks since September, 'has stepped down from her role,' the company said on Tuesday without offering further details

Christina Spade, who served as CEO of AMC Networks since September, ‘has stepped down from her role,’ the company said on Tuesday without offering further details

AMC Chairman James Dolan (center) blamed the large-scale layoffs on the dramatic shift away from traditional cable in favor of online streaming. Dolan also owns the New York Knicks

AMC Chairman James Dolan (center) blamed the large-scale layoffs on the dramatic shift away from traditional cable in favor of online streaming. Dolan also owns the New York Knicks

Although AMC has its own streaming service, AMC+, Dolan said in a memo to employees that the boutique streaming offering had failed to meet expectations for growth.  

‘It was our belief that cord cutting losses would be offset by gains in streaming,’ Dolan said in the memo, according to The Wall Street Journal. ‘This has not been the case.’

‘We have determined we need to conserve resources at this time,’ a subsequent memo said. ‘This will involve cutbacks in operations which unfortunately includes a large-scale layoff, impacting approximately 20 percent of our employees in the US.’ 

In a press release, AMC also said that Christina Spade, who served as CEO since September, ‘has stepped down from her role.’ 

Dolan said in a terse statement: ‘We thank Christina for her contributions to the company in her CEO role and her earlier CFO (chief financial officer) role, and we wish her well in her future endeavors.’ 

According to a regulatory filing, Spade will receive severance benefits in accordance with the terms of her employment agreement, on ‘a termination without “cause” or resignation for “good reason” basis.’  

AMC is home to Breaking Bad, which some have called the best TV show ever made

AMC is home to Breaking Bad, which some have called the best TV show ever made

The network also found huge success with the Walking Dead, which recently concluded after running 11 season and spawning numerous spin-offs

The network also found huge success with the Walking Dead, which recently concluded after running 11 season and spawning numerous spin-offs

AMC Networks declined to comment further on her departure. It said the board was in the process of finding a successor.

AMC Networks had 1,739 full-time and 287 part-time employees as of December 31, according to a regulatory filing, but the company says its US workforce numbers about 1,000.

Cord cutting and a gloomy advertising market have weighed on the company’s business, with shares down 40 percent year to date.

The streaming unit has, however, emerged as a bright spot. Revenue in the division surged 41 percent in the last reported quarter, even as the company’s overall revenue slumped 16 percent.

Spade joined AMC as CFO in 2021 after serving as the finance chief of ViacomCBS, now Paramount Global.

In September, she took the helm from Matt Blank who had held it on an interim basis after long-time Chief Executive Officer Josh Sapan stepped down in August last year.

Shares of AMC Networks closed down 5.3 percent. 

Source

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