After finding great ratings success in simulcasting Killing Eve on both AMC and BBC America this year, AMC Networks is expanding the strategy to other programs in its portfolio.
Killing Eve, which debuted on BBC America last year, also aired on AMC this spring for Season 2. The series “delivered the highest season-over-season growth of any returning drama on U.S. television in the past three years,” Sarah Barnett, president of entertainment networks for AMC Networks, said today at the Television Critics Association’s summer press tour in LA.
The show’s ratings on AMC and BBC America were up 87% in total viewers (1.8 million per episode) and 78% in the adults 25-54 demo (754,000) compared to Season 1, which averaged 983,000 and 423,000, respectively, on BBC America. The closest percentage season-over-season growth this year, said Barnett, was Game of Thrones, which jumped 38% for its Season 8.
The company is continuing its simulcasting strategy this fall, airing its true crime docuseries Preppy Murder: Death in Central Park, on both AMC and SundanceTV. The two networks will broadcast the series—which looks at the 1986 killing of Jennifer Levin in New York’s Central Park by Robert Chambers—on three consecutive nights, from Nov. 13-15.
AMC Networks is embracing simulcasting as an opportunity to maximize viewers in the Peak TV era while also exposing audiences to other networks they might not otherwise watch.
That approach paid off for Killing Eve’s second season. AMC Networks also found that 94% of Killing Eve viewers on AMC had not watched BBC America in the three months prior to premiere.
Also, “37% of the show’s AMC viewers discovered the series on AMC and are now more likely to watch originals on BBC America,” said Barnett, who called it “a win for the show and a win for our collective networks.”
In January, AMC Networks aired its five-episode nature docuseries Dynasties across AMC, BBC America, IFC and SundanceTV.
Simulcasting helps AMC Networks make the most out of an original content output that pales in comparison to rivals like Netflix.
“We don’t make shows on an industrial scale,” Barnett said. “We’re not in the ‘all things for all people’ business.” Instead, her networks are “four tight brands that have a sure sense of who they are, who they’re for and what content works.”
AMC Networks had sold Killing Eve in last year’s upfront before the company’s Season 2 simulcast plan was set, but it capitalized on the shift in the scatter market, commanding “Walking Dead-like CPMs” for the series, AMC Networks ad sales chief Scott Collins told Adweek in April.
Barnett told Adweek in April that she’ll wait until after this year’s upfront to make a decision about whether to again simulcast Killing Eve in Season 3—which seems like a no-brainer given today’s stats. “We want to be led by our learnings,” she said. “If we do it for Season 3, it will be something that is sold in scatter, just as this one was.”