Netflix Should Buy AMC Networks And ‘The Walking Dead’

I have seen a lot of media types talk about how consolidation is coming to the streaming landscape. This seems obvious in some cases, like how Amazon now owns MGM, yet still sells “MGM+” as a separate offering that just should be rolled up into Prime. And we’re already seeing it with the pending merger of HBO Max and Discovery Plus (which will no doubt result in a price increase).

Today, I want to talk about two pieces I believe fit together quite well, Netflix, and the idea that it could potentially buy out the floundering AMC Networks.

AMC used to be riding high in the era of Breaking Bad, Mad Men and the early seasons of The Walking Dead. These days, its stock has dropped 65% in the last five years, and its currently undergoing layoffs and show cancellations, including some actually finished projects, in order to desperately cut costs.

Netflix, meanwhile, has been accused of too many lower quality offerings spamming the site, and it is frequently losing licensing partners, given that all those shows are moving to their own, native streaming services, or dramatically upping their prices to stay where they are.

Buying AMC Networks, which has a $784 million market cap to Netflix’s $160.5 billion, feels like it could be a win for both brands. AMC feels like it’s teetering on the brink of ceasing to exist altogether, as a service like AMC+ is a hard sell with almost a dozen other more prominent streaming services to choose from, plus it still has confusing terms with its cable airings, where things aren’t as available as they should be, even for paying subscribers.

We have already seen AMC series perform very well on Netflix, due to existing licensing deals. The Walking Dead’s final season, even after most superfans had already watched it, flew up Netflix’s top 10 charts once it arrived there, and remains in the top 10 weeks later. Netflix still has Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul in its library, and of course, strangely, it had first dibs on El Camino, the Jesse Pinkman solo movie that was branded a Netflix original.

AMC has a lot of current and upcoming content that I’m sure Netflix would enjoy owning outright. Getting the keys to the entire Walking Dead kingdom means that all planned spin-offs, Daryl Dixon, Maggie and Negan’s Dead City, and Rick and Michonne’s show, could air on Netflix day one. Netflix would get the burgeoning Anne Rice cinematic universe, led by the stellar Interview with a Vampire. They can’t get Vince Gilligan, who is moving to Apple Plus, but they can get Bob Odenkirk’s next project, Lucky Hank, which is coming to AMC. And they could rescue underwatched, but great series like Pantheon, which had a finished second season that AMC cut for cost. And, it seems, Netflix could probably offer most of these projects larger budgets than they may have had otherwise, which would especially benefit something like The Walking Dead.

AMC feels like they’re in a position to be sold. Netflix feels like it’s in a position to start buying. The two already have a relationship and AMC brings a lot of solid existing and potential IPs to the table. Someone should be trying to make this happen.

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