×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Listen: Josh Sapan on Why Small Is Beautiful for AMC Networks

Josh Sapan knows that AMC Networks is a small fish swimming in a sea of giants these days. But the CEO of the cable channel group is confident about navigating the choppy waters ahead as the TV marketplace adjusts to the premium-content playbook that has defined AMC’s success for more than a decade.

“We don’t need to dominate the planet in order to be extraordinarily successful,” Sapan says.

Welcome to Strictly Business, Variety‘s weekly podcast featuring conversations with industry leaders about the business of entertainment. In this week’s episode, Sapan talks with Cynthia Littleton, Variety’s managing editor of television, about the company’s transition from a collection of cable channels — AMC, SundanceTV, IFC, WeTV, and BBC America — to a content-focused enterprise that is experimenting with new forms of distribution and expansion overseas.

“We were a cable channel company,” Sapan says. “Today we’re a content company.”

Listen to the full interview here:

Since AMC Networks was spun off from former parent Cablevision in 2011, Sapan has expanded the company’s presence overseas with acquisitions and invested in streaming platforms including Robert Johnson’s Acorn and Urban Movie Channel services. Key to AMC’s revenue base these days is the production activity at the AMC Studios arm, which allows the company to haul in content licensing revenue around the world for wholly owned productions such as “The Walking Dead” and its offshoots. 

Sapan points to the legacy of groundbreaking, high-end content established by the mothership AMC channel with “Mad Men” and “Breaking Bad.” The arm’s race in TV production budgets and talent costs amid the rapid explosion of TV has put a greater premium on the search for distinctive ideas and creative voices. He points to new AMC dramas “Dietland” and “The Terror,” and BBC America’s Emmy-nominated “Killing Eve” as examples of next-wave pillars for the company.

“Our POV has been, as a core principle, to focus on excellent content,” Sapan says. “We didn’t buy our way into creative excellence. We sought creative excellence.”

Strictly Business” is Variety’s weekly podcast featuring conversations with industry leaders about the business of entertainment. Listen to the podcast above for the full interview, or check out previous “Strictly Business” episodes featuring HBO’s Richard PleplerGroup 9’s Ben Lerer, Bankable Productions’ Tyra Banks, Spotify’s Dawn Ostroff, Entertainment Studios’ Byron Allen, among others. A new episode debuts each Tuesday and can be downloaded on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, and SoundCloud.

More Biz

  • church set Westworld Paramount Ranch Western

    Park Service Aims to Rebuild Western Town at Paramount Ranch in Two Years

    Josh Sapan knows that AMC Networks is a small fish swimming in a sea of giants these days. But the CEO of the cable channel group is confident about navigating the choppy waters ahead as the TV marketplace adjusts to the premium-content playbook that has defined AMC’s success for more than a decade. “We don’t […]

  • Jim Acosta Microphone Moment

    First They Came For Acosta. Why We Sued Trump Before He Acts Again (Opinion)

    Josh Sapan knows that AMC Networks is a small fish swimming in a sea of giants these days. But the CEO of the cable channel group is confident about navigating the choppy waters ahead as the TV marketplace adjusts to the premium-content playbook that has defined AMC’s success for more than a decade. “We don’t […]

  • Daniel GlassUJA-Federation of New York's Music

    Glassnote Music Strikes Strategic Partnership With Kobalt’s AWAL

    Josh Sapan knows that AMC Networks is a small fish swimming in a sea of giants these days. But the CEO of the cable channel group is confident about navigating the choppy waters ahead as the TV marketplace adjusts to the premium-content playbook that has defined AMC’s success for more than a decade. “We don’t […]

  • Movie Theater

    Studios Expected to Push for Early Home Release in 2019 (EXCLUSIVE)

    Josh Sapan knows that AMC Networks is a small fish swimming in a sea of giants these days. But the CEO of the cable channel group is confident about navigating the choppy waters ahead as the TV marketplace adjusts to the premium-content playbook that has defined AMC’s success for more than a decade. “We don’t […]

  • NetEase Discusses Importance of Chinese Gaming

    NetEase Discusses Importance of Chinese Gaming Regulation, Anti-Addiction Measures

    Josh Sapan knows that AMC Networks is a small fish swimming in a sea of giants these days. But the CEO of the cable channel group is confident about navigating the choppy waters ahead as the TV marketplace adjusts to the premium-content playbook that has defined AMC’s success for more than a decade. “We don’t […]

  • Iggy Azalea at Hits 97.3, Fort

    Iggy Azalea Says She’s Signed a $2.7 Million Deal

    Josh Sapan knows that AMC Networks is a small fish swimming in a sea of giants these days. But the CEO of the cable channel group is confident about navigating the choppy waters ahead as the TV marketplace adjusts to the premium-content playbook that has defined AMC’s success for more than a decade. “We don’t […]

  • Sheryl Sandberg

    Sheryl Sandberg: Facebook 'Absolutely Did Not Pay Anyone to Create Fake News'

    Josh Sapan knows that AMC Networks is a small fish swimming in a sea of giants these days. But the CEO of the cable channel group is confident about navigating the choppy waters ahead as the TV marketplace adjusts to the premium-content playbook that has defined AMC’s success for more than a decade. “We don’t […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content