AMC Networks is offering buyouts as 'Walking Dead' ratings drop

AMC Networks is expected to offer voluntary buyouts to about 200 employees, an individual with knowledge of the situation told Business Insider.

The company is expecting that about 10% to 15% of those who are offered buyouts will take them, which would amount to about 20-30 jobs eliminated.

Though it isn’t clear how much AMC is looking to save, other companies have moved from buyout offers to involuntary employee layoffs in order to meet spending goals.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, which first reported the buyouts, the cuts are partially driven by AMC’s weakening ratings for its cornerstone show, “The Walking Dead,” and low turnout for new shows, including “Preacher.”

For season six, “The Walking Dead” averaged 13.2 million total live viewers and earned a 6.5 rating in the audience most attractive to advertisers, according to Nielsen. That’s an 8.5% drop from the previous season in total viewers and a pretty big 11.9% drop in the advertiser rating.

The numbers also aren’t heavenly for “Preacher,” which got good word of mouth. Its current season is averaging just 1.7 million viewers and a low 0.62 ratings score.

In turn, these weak ratings are affecting the stock price of AMC Networks, which owns the network. THR reported that its stock is down 20% this year.

At the same time, the industry as a whole is experiencing and examining ways to cope with lower live viewing numbers. For AMC’s part, it has four of the most-watched shows on cable TV, including “The Walking Dead,” its after-show “Talking Dead,” the spin-off “Fear the Walking Dead,” and “Into the Badlands.”

AMC had no comment.

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