For the first time ever, consumers don’t need a cable subscription to watch AMC Networks channels including AMC, BBC America, IFC and SundanceTV.
AMC Networks has dramatically increased the footprint for AMC+, its expanded ad-free streaming service, which will be available today through Apple TV and Prime Video channels.
AMC+ features ad-free programming across AMC Networks’ entertainment networks, several of the company’s niche streaming services (Shudder, Sundance Now and IFC Films Unlimited), select AMC library shows (including all seven seasons of Mad Men) and early access to several AMC series before they air on linear TV.
The offering had previously been available as an add-on for Comcast, Dish and Sling TV subscribers, but AMC+ is now available to stream directly to the consumer, with no cable subscription necessary.
Those subscribing through Apple TV or Prime Video will pay $8.99 a month for AMC+, which is more than the pricing on Comcast ($5 a month) or Dish/Sling TV ($7 a month). But AMC+ subscribers on Amazon and Apple will also get access to the live linear feeds of AMC, BBC America, IFC and Sundance (which will contain ads), as well as the on- demand libraries available through those networks.
AMC+ is an upgrade over the network’s original ad-free offering, AMC Premiere, which only featured AMC series and cost $4.99 a month. It first rolled out in 2017 and expanded to all AMC subscribers a year later.
While AMC Premiere is still available, parent company AMC Networks will be emphasizing AMC+ moving forward.
Beginning today, AMC+ users will also get early access to new episodes of The Walking Dead, new spinoff The Walking Dead: World Beyond and new anthology series Soulmates. Episodes will be available to stream each Thursday, ahead of their linear airings on Sunday (The Walking Dead shows) or Monday (Soulmates).
Additionally, AMC+ features two series that won’t be seen on AMC until next year. All four episodes of The Salisbury Poisonings dropped today on AMC+ while the first three episodes of Gangs of London were made available on the platform, with the other seven episodes rolling out weekly. Neither series will debut on the AMC linear network until early 2021.
AMC+ helps put the premium cable network on more equal footing with its ad-free streaming rivals, especially now that it offers a direct-to-consumer option.
FX is facing the same streaming competition as its basic cable rival AMC and shut down its own ad-free subscription service for cable subscribers FX+ a year ago, a few months before it announced the FX on Hulu branded hub on its sister streaming platform, which debuted in March.
The effort to expand FX’s brand beyond linear, which was “the biggest initiative in our history,” according to FX Networks chairman John Landgraf, “has exceeded our expectations,” he told reporters last month. Since March, “the launch has created greater awareness and buzz, as well as increased viewership for our shows.”