AMC Networks has done extremely well out of its compelling ratings hit The Walking Dead, and over the years has been helped hugely by a number of critical and commercial successes not least Mad Men, Breaking Bad and its Better Call Saul spin-off.
But a report from analysts at MoffettNathanson Research suggests that the hits might be running out and the channel’s “over reliance” on a single show – The Walking Dead (TWD) poses a very real threat to the channel.
MoffettNathanson’s evidence is based on flat and even falling ratings for TWD and the most recent episodes of the show. “After debuting with 18-49 (age-group viewers) that were flat to up across all key metrics, TWD ratings for each successive episode subsequently decelerated and are now off by double digits,” says the research company in its examination of Season 7 of the show.
However, AMC has enjoyed strong ad-support through its Q4 and Q1 revenues. MoffettNathanson says these revenues will quickly come to an end because of TWD’s “alarming” ratings collapse.
MoffettNathanson’s conclusion is brutal. Not only does it downgrade its recommendations for AMC to “SELL”, it suggests the time has come for the Dolan family to “quietly put the asset up for sale”.