AMC Networks plans major layoffs as CEO steps down after less than three months

AMC Networks plans major layoffs as CEO steps down after less than three months

Christina Spade attends The Hollywood Reporter, SAG-AFTRA and Heineken Celebrate Emmy Award Contenders Annual Nominees Party on September 10, 2022 in West Hollywood, California.

Michael Kovac | The Hollywood Reporter | Getty Images

AMC Networks told his employees on Tuesday that he was planning significant layoffs, according to a memo obtained by CNBC and a person familiar with the matter.

The memo, sent by AMC Networks Chairman James Dolan, came shortly after the company announced that CEO Christina Spade had stepped down from her role less than three months after being promoted to the role.

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“We believed the cord-cutting losses would be offset by streaming gains,” Dolan said in the memo. “It hasn’t. We’re a content company first and foremost and content monetization mechanisms are in disarray.”

The layoffs are expected to be significant. The Wall Street Journal reported earlier that layoffs would take place. A spokeswoman for AMC Networks did not immediately respond to the comment.

The cable television network said in a regulatory filing on Tuesday that Spade would receive her severance pay in accordance with her August 4 employment contract, which stated that she would be eligible for it if she was terminated without “cause” or if she resigned. for “good reason”. .”

A company spokeswoman declined to provide further details. Shares of AMC Networks fell about 5% on Tuesday.

AMC said in a statement that its board of directors is finalizing its decision on Spade’s replacement.

“We thank Christina for her contributions to the business in her role as CEO and her previous role as Chief Financial Officer, and wish her well in her future endeavours,” chairman James Dolan said in the statement. AMC Networks is controlled by Dolan and his family, which also owns Madison Square Garden Entertainment.

Spade joined AMC Networks in 2021 as CFO and a few months later was promoted to the dual role of COO and CFO. In August, less than a year later, the company announced that she would take over as CEO.

Spade, an industry veteran who previously held executive positions at ViacomCBS, CBS Corp. and Showtime, replaced interim CEO Matt Blank at AMC Networks.

Blank, the former president of Showtime, had taken over in 2021 after Josh Sapan left the company after a 26-year run that saw the network transform into a hitmaker with series such as “Mad Men” and “The Walking Dead”.

In recent years, AMC Networks has been seen as an acquisition target for major media companies. In addition to its successful series of TV shows, it offers niche streaming services such as AMC+ and horror-focused Shudder.

AMC has also been observed by NBCUniversal’s Peacock, which has approached various smaller streaming services to bundle their content, CNBC previously reported.

Read the memo below:

AMC Networks Community:
As you are no doubt aware, our industry has been under pressure from increasing subscriber losses. This is mainly due to the “cutting of the cord”. At the same time, we’ve seen the rise of direct-to-consumer streaming apps, including our own AMC+. We thought the cord-cutting losses would be offset by streaming gains. It was not the case. We are first and foremost a content company and content monetization mechanisms are in disarray.
It is for this reason that I and the AMC Networks Board of Directors have concluded that we, as a company, need to conserve our resources at this time. We ordered the executive management of AMC Networks to undergo significant operating cuts. These will include a large-scale layoff as well as cuts in all areas of AMC Networks’ operations. We are of course aware that this will cause significant concern and anxiety for our employees and those who depend on AMC Networks for their livelihood. We don’t take this lightly. We will take all possible measures to minimize the impact of these actions on our community. However, it is imperative that we begin immediately with this new course of action.
The Dolan family and the AMC Networks Board of Directors are very proud of the company and the products you have created. It is a confusing and uncertain time in our industry. We are confident that AMC Networks will come out of this even stronger. Your branch will provide you with details shortly. We only wish the best for everyone in the AMC Networks community.
James Dolan

Disclosure: Comcast’s NBCUniversal is CNBC’s parent company.

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