AMC Networks has revamped its upfront strategy a couple times in the past several weeks, after the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of its event last month.
Now the company is rolling out Upfront Connect, an online sales hub to assist buyers that includes The Screening Room—with full seasons of AMC Networks programming and first looks at upcoming original shows—and access to the company’s new branded content studio, The Content Room.
Additionally, AMC Networks is now offering The Content Room’s creative and production capabilities for free to any brand that signs on during this uncertain period, as everyone is sheltering in place and many clients are looking to change their brand messaging as a result of COVID-19.
The Upfront Connect site includes information on yearlong creative solutions, programming calendars and the company’s advanced advertising capabilities.
“In keeping with our ‘buyers first’ approach, we’ve launched Upfront Connect to provide comprehensive resources and convenient solutions that address the challenges our clients are facing at this time, including creative and production services at no cost to them,” said Kim Kelleher, president of commercial revenue and partnerships, AMC Networks, in a statement. “Like everything else, the advertising industry changed virtually overnight, and we are pleased to offer a full suite of resources exclusively for our partners, along with our deep audience knowledge and how and where to engage viewers in a meaningful way.”
AMC Networks said “nearly a dozen” brands are working with its Content Room branded content studio. That studio—which has the ability to create branded content for the either the company’s platforms or those of its clients—had been in the works since Kelleher arrived last year.
Kelleher detailed her company’s upfront approach last month to Adweek, explaining that although its March event was canceled because of the pandemic, its upfront messaging remains the same, focusing on its “viewer first” strategy of telling great stories that command attention and reach audiences wherever they are.
Hand in hand with that is a “buyers first” approach to creating as many ways for clients to reach their audiences as possible, on all platforms—including, for the first time this year, partnerships with several AVOD (free, ad-supported streaming) services, Reddit and both major audience-targeting platforms.
As part of its “buyers first” upfront approach, AMC Networks will gives marketers access to viewers on whatever platform they choose, and across linear and digital platforms with the same buy.