Would you like to pay more for cable TV than you're already paying?
Then AMC has an offer for you: The cable programmer is going to start selling an add-on service that lets cable TV subscribers watch most AMC shows, without commercials, for an extra $5 a month.
AMC, which is rolling out its new "AMC Premiere" option to Comcast pay TV subscribers, says the new service is aimed at "super-fans" of its programs like "The Walking Dead," who have a pay TV subscription but are willing to pay more to watch live, ad-free TV.
It also acknowledges that group may not be very large. "It's not for everyone," says AMC president Charlie Collier. "But it's a good choice for people who want it."
To beat this into the ground: It's hard to imagine how many people are willing to pay extra for shows they're already paying for — especially since those same people are likely to have DVRs, which make ad-skipping a trivial problem to solve.
And while AMC says the new service may one day be a place to watch "original exclusive content," it is only offering a handful of extra goodies for now, like deleted scenes.
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It also can't promise that all of its programming will be ad-free, since it doesn't have the right to show everything on the new service. For instance: "Loaded," a new show it co-produced with the U.K.'s Channel 4, won't be available on the service when it debuts next month.
AMC says it would like to expand the offering to pay TV services beyond Comcast; Comcast*, which will share revenue from the new service, says it would like to launch similar offerings with other programmers.
That said, I'm always happy to be proven wrong: I didn't think CBS would find a real audience for its "All Access" streaming service, which charges $6 a month for shows you can see for free on CBS, plus a couple exclusive programs. But now it has more than one million subscribers.
Bigger picture: Chalk this one up as another attempt by a Big Media company to find a new revenue stream, ideally based around stuff it already owns. See also: NBCUniversal selling soccer games it used offer for free to cable TV subscribers, and the
It's easy to understand why they'd want to find new money. It's unclear whether their customers will play along.
—By Peter Kafka, Recode.net.
CNBC's parent NBCUniversal is an investor in Recode's parent Vox, and the companies have a content-sharing arrangement.