AMC wants you to pay $5 a month to watch its shows like 'The Walking Dead' without ads

The walking deadAMCAMC’s ‘The Walking Dead’

AMC is launching a $US4.99-a-month premium service called AMC Premiere, which lets you watch its hits like “Better Call Saul” and “The Walking Dead” without ads.

AMC Premiere will make ad-free versions of AMC shows available to stream as soon as they air on TV. It will have some extras like a curated set of movies, and AMC even hinted there might be some original content for the service.

The catch: You have to already be a Comcast Xfinity TV subscriber to get AMC Premiere, though AMC does want to expand it to other pay-TV providers, the company told Reuters. Still, cord-cutters are out of luck.

The launch of AMC Premiere shows how the network is trying to compete with ad-free competitors like Netflix, Amazon, HBO, and Showtime. These companies, however, all offer an a-la-carte option, and aren’t part of a standard cable package. AMC Premiere still requires you to pay for a cable subscription.

Where does AMC fit?

As streaming video distribution heats up, AMC could be caught between two worlds.

AMC has made its name on high-quality original dramas like “Breaking Bad” and “Mad Men,” but unlike HBO and Showtime, it’s firmly in the world of the standard, ad-supported cable package. If the move to digital shakes up how a pay-TV package works, a big question will be whether prestige networks like AMC could get pushed more toward the HBO model.

Earlier this month, BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti presented an interesting take on the subject: He predicted the market for high-quality longform video would “bifurcate into two buckets.”

Here’s how he described it:

“One will be best represented by Netflix and HBO, and that will be subscription-based revenue models, with no advertising and premium, expensive, high-cost-per-minute content. Think ‘Game of Thrones’ or ‘House of Cards’ type stuff.

“There will be another bucket dominated by Facebook and YouTube, and a few others — we’ll see who ends up on the traditional media side being able to step into that space — that will be ad-supported media and kind of replace what broadcast TV used to be. So, massive reach. No affiliate fees. Advertising supported. And it will be lower cost per minute, but it will become more premium.”

If that sort of change does come, where will networks like AMC fit?

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