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UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549
 
FORM 10-K

Annual report pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020
or
Transition report pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934
For the transition period from         to             

Commission File Number: 1-35106
https://cdn.kscope.io/b43d465cefe705c196827b313d760492-amcx-20201231_g1.jpg
AMC Networks Inc.
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

Delaware 27-5403694
(State or other jurisdiction of
incorporation or organization)
 
(I.R.S. Employer
Identification No.)
11 Penn Plaza, New York, NY
 10001
(Address of principal executive offices) (Zip Code)

(212) 324-8500
(Registrant's telephone number, including area code)

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

Title of each classTrading Symbol(s)Name of each exchange on which registered
Class A Common Stock, par value $0.01 per shareAMCX
The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:
None
 
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.   
Yes  þ No  ¨ 
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Act.    Yes  ¨    No  þ
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.    Yes  þ    No  ¨
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files).    Yes  þ    No  ¨




Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company or an emerging growth company (as defined in Exchange Act Rule 12b-2).
Large accelerated filerAccelerated filer
Non-accelerated filerSmaller reporting company
Emerging growth company
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. ¨

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report.
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).    Yes      No  þ
The aggregate market value of the registrant's common stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant, computed by reference to the closing price of a share of common stock on June 30, 2020 (the last business day of the registrant's most recently completed second fiscal quarter) was approximately $902 million.
The number of shares of common stock outstanding as of February 19, 2021:
Class A Common Stock par value $0.01 per share29,975,350 
Class B Common Stock par value $0.01 per share11,484,408 

DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE:
Certain information required in Item 10 through Item 14 of Part III of this Annual Report on Form 10-K is incorporated herein by reference to the Registrant's definitive Proxy Statement for its 2021 Annual Meeting of Stockholders, which shall be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission pursuant to Regulation 14A of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, within 120 days of the Registrant's fiscal year end.



TABLE OF CONTENTS
 
  Page
Part I
Item 1.
Item 1A.
Item 1B.
Item 2.
Item 3.
Item 4.
Part II
Item 5.
Item 6.
Item 7.
Item 7A.
Item 8.
Item 9.
Item 9A.
Item 9B.
Part III
Item 10.
Item 11.
Item 12.
Item 13.
Item 14.
Part IV
Item 15.
Item 16.

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FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
This Annual Report on Form 10-K contains statements that constitute forward-looking information within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. In this Annual Report on Form 10-K there are statements concerning our future operating results and future financial performance. Words such as "expects," "anticipates," "believes," "estimates," "may," "will," "should," "could," "potential," "continue," "intends," "plans" and similar words and terms used in the discussion of future operating results and future financial performance identify forward-looking statements. You are cautioned that any such forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance or results and involve risks and uncertainties and that actual results or developments may differ materially from the forward-looking statements as a result of various factors. Factors that may cause such differences to occur include, but are not limited to:
the level of our revenues;
market demand, including changes in viewer consumption patterns, for our programming networks, our subscription streaming services, our programming, and our production services;
demand for advertising inventory and our ability to deliver guaranteed viewer ratings;
the highly competitive nature of the cable, telecommunications, streaming and programming industries;
the cost of, and our ability to obtain or produce, desirable programming content for our networks, other forms of distribution, including digital and licensing in international markets, as well as our film distribution businesses;
market demand for our owned original programming and our film content;
the impact of COVID-19 on the economy and our business, including the measures taken by governmental authorities to address the pandemic, which may precipitate or exacerbate other risks and/or uncertainties;
the security of our program rights and other electronic data;
our ability to maintain and renew distribution or affiliation agreements with distributors;
the loss of any of our key personnel and artistic talent;
changes in consumer demand for our comedy venues;
changes in domestic and foreign laws or regulations under which we operate;
economic and business conditions and industry trends in the countries in which we operate;
fluctuations in currency exchange rates and interest rates;
changes in laws or treaties relating to taxation, or the interpretation thereof, in the U.S. or in the countries in which we operate;
the impact of existing and proposed federal, state and international laws and regulations relating to data protection, privacy and security, including the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation ("GDPR");
the impact of Brexit;
our substantial debt and high leverage;
reduced access to capital markets or significant increases in costs to borrow;
the level of our expenses;
the level of our capital expenditures;
future acquisitions and dispositions of assets;
our ability to successfully acquire new businesses and, if acquired, to integrate, and implement our plan with respect to businesses we acquire;
problems we may discover post-closing with the operations, including the internal controls and financial reporting process, of businesses we acquire;
uncertainties regarding the financial results of equity method investees, issuers of our investments in marketable equity securities and non-marketable equity securities and changes in the nature of key strategic relationships with partners and joint ventures;
the outcome of litigation and other proceedings;
whether pending uncompleted transactions, if any, are completed on the terms and at the times set forth (if at all);
other risks and uncertainties inherent in our programming and streaming businesses;
financial community and rating agency perceptions of our business, operations, financial condition and the industry in which we operate;
events that are outside our control, such as political unrest in international markets, terrorist attacks, natural disasters and other similar events; and
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the factors described under Item 1A, "Risk Factors" in this Annual Report.
We disclaim any obligation to update or revise the forward-looking statements contained herein, except as otherwise required by applicable federal securities laws.
Part I
Item 1. Business.
AMC Networks Inc. is a Delaware corporation with its principal executive offices located at 11 Penn Plaza, New York, NY 10001. AMC Networks Inc. is a holding company and conducts substantially all of its operations through its majority owned or controlled subsidiaries. Unless the context otherwise requires, all references to "we," "our," "us," "AMC Networks" or the "Company" refer to AMC Networks Inc., together with its subsidiaries. "AMC Networks Inc." refers to AMC Networks Inc. individually as a separate entity. Our telephone number is (212) 324-8500.
AMC Networks Inc. was incorporated on March 9, 2011 as an indirect, wholly-owned subsidiary of Cablevision Systems Corporation (Cablevision Systems Corporation and its subsidiaries are referred to as "Cablevision"). On June 30, 2011, Cablevision spun off the Company (the "Distribution"), and AMC Networks Inc. became an independent public company.
OVERVIEW
AMC Networks is a global entertainment company known for its ground-breaking and award-winning original content. We own and operate a suite of focused and targeted video entertainment products that are delivered to viewers on an ever-expanding array of platforms. These include: our linear TV channels carried by traditional and virtual multi-channel video programming distributors (MVPD); our streaming services, consisting of AMC+ as well as our targeted streaming services; and various social media platforms.
We operate several of the most recognized brands in entertainment, creating and presenting high quality content and compelling stories to audiences, and a valuable platform for distributors and advertisers. We have operated in the entertainment industry for more than 40 years, and, over this time, we have continually enhanced the value of our portfolio. Our content spans multiple genres, including drama, comedy, documentary, reality, anthology, feature film and short form and is well known and well regarded by our key constituents — our viewers, distributors and advertisers — and have developed strong, dedicated followings within their respective targeted demographics, increasing their value to distributors and advertisers.
In the United States ("U.S."), our programming networks are AMC, WE tv, BBC AMERICA (operated through a joint venture with BBC Studios), IFC and SundanceTV. Our deep and established presence in the industry and the recognition we have received for our brands through industry awards, critical acclaim and other honors lend us a high degree of credibility with content creators and producers, providing us with strong relationships with top creators and demand for our owned programming for distribution on third-party platforms. Our networks are distributed primarily through MVPDs and are available on every major U.S. distribution platform. Through our AMC Studios operation, we are increasingly owning our original programming. Today, through AMC Studios, we own and control a significant portion of the original scripted series that we deliver to viewers on our linear and streaming platforms.
Our ability to produce and own high quality content has provided us with the opportunity to distribute our owned content on platforms other than our domestic networks. Our owned content as well as the content that we license is distributed domestically and internationally and on multiple platforms, including linear television, company-owned and third-party streaming services, digital services, home video and syndication.
We launched a premium subscription streaming bundle called AMC+ that includes commercial-free access to original programming from across our entertainment networks, library content including The Walking Dead, Fear the Walking Dead, The Walking Dead: World Beyond and Mad Men and access to a number of our targeted streaming services. AMC+ is currently available to customers through MVPDs and virtual MVPDs as well as Amazon, Apple and Roku. We also own and operate four targeted streaming services that offer curated content destinations that provide unique viewership experiences for distinct audiences. The four services are: Acorn TV, our largest streaming service, specializing in world-class mysteries and drama from Britain and beyond; Shudder, serving fans of horror and suspense; Sundance Now, featuring mysteries, prestige drama and true crime; and ALLBLK (previously known as Urban Movie Channel), the first streaming destination dedicated to Black audiences, featuring the best in Black TV and film.
While we primarily license content for these services, we continue to increasingly invest in producing original programming, which is contributing to strong growth and a stable user base.
Internationally, we deliver programming that reaches subscribers in more than 125 countries and territories around the world. The international division of the Company, AMC Networks International ("AMCNI"), consists of global brands, including AMC and SundanceTV, in the movie and entertainment programming genres, as well as popular, locally recognized channels in several other programming genres.
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AMC Networks also operates IFC Films, a film distribution business that distributes independent narrative and documentary films under the IFC Films label as well as the IFC Midnight distribution label. IFC Films is known for attracting high-profile talent and distributing films that regularly garner critical acclaim and industry honors, including numerous Oscar, Golden Globe, and Cannes Film Festival-award winning titles. IFC Films also operates IFC Films Unlimited, a subscription video on demand streaming channel comprised of theatrically-released and award-winning titles from its distribution labels. IFC Films has been behind some of the most culturally impactful and successful independent film and documentary releases of all time, and IFC Films Unlimited includes a broad range of titles.
Strategy
Our strategy is to maintain and improve our position as a leading entertainment company by creating and presenting content that is high-quality, brand defining and compelling to watch, and by owning and operating some of the most popular and award-winning brands in television that create engagement with audiences globally across multiple distribution platforms. The key focuses of our strategy are:
Continued Development of High-Quality Original Programming. We intend to continue developing strong original programming across all of our programming networks to further enhance our brands, strengthen our relationships with our viewers, distributors and advertisers, and increase distribution and audience ratings. We intend to seek increased distribution of our national networks to grow distribution and advertising revenues. We believe that our continued investment in original programming will support future growth in distribution and advertising revenue. We also intend to continue to expand the exploitation of our original programming across multiple distribution platforms.
Increased Ownership and Control of Content and Valuable IP. We believe that control (including long-term contractual arrangements) and ownership of content is important. Through our AMC Studios operation, we intend to increase our control over more of our programming content. We currently control, own or have long-term license agreements covering significant portions of our content across our programming networks, our streaming services, and our independent film distribution business operated by IFC Films. We intend to continue to focus on obtaining the broadest possible control rights (both as to territory and platforms) for our content.
Develop and Grow Targeted Streaming Offerings and Brands. We have been focused on creating and growing targeted streaming services for several years. As the market for this category evolves, consumers are increasingly complementing their general entertainment subscriptions with our targeted streaming services. Our targeted streaming strategy is to serve distinct premium audiences and build loyal and engaged fan communities around each service.
Innovation in Content, Format, Distribution, and New Products. The technological landscape of the distribution of entertainment content has expanded to include other media platforms. We distribute our content across many of these platforms, when it makes business sense to do so, so that our viewers can access our content where, when and how they want it. To that end, our programming networks are allowing many of our distributors to offer our content to subscribers on various platforms permitting subscribers to access programs at their convenience. We also make select content available on streaming services or digital platform providers, such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, electronic-sell-through (EST) and physical (DVD and Blu-ray) formats.
Growth and Innovation in Advertising. We continue to evolve the programming on each of our networks to achieve even stronger viewer engagement within their respective core targeted demographics, thereby increasing the value of our programming to advertisers and allowing us to obtain higher advertising rates.
We are also creating new opportunities for brands to leverage the strength of our content and our large and passionate fan communities on social platforms as well as through on-the-ground live events. These opportunities are rooted in our strong content and proven ability to build vibrant, large and engaged fan communities around our shows and franchises.
In addition, we are embracing many new opportunities the evolving advertising space presents, including the potential of advertising video on demand (AVOD). To date, we have launched a total of seven distinct channels featuring our content, in different configurations, across major AVOD platforms, such as Pluto TV and Sling TV. We have made significant investments in advanced advertising technologies such as our proprietary targeting tool called Aurora. In what has been a multi-year effort for us, we have been building tools and staffing up as we develop data and analytics for our proprietary tools. We have seen the number of advertisers utilizing these tools increase and our targeted audience ad sales have grown as a result. In addition to our own initiatives, we are also participating in broader industry efforts, such as Project OAR, a consortium focused on bringing addressable advertising to smart TVs. We believe our products enhance our value to advertisers through better targeting, data and measurement and we believe they will improve our overall business in the mid and long term.
Increased Global Distribution. We distribute our programming networks around the globe. We first expanded beyond the U.S. market with the launch in Canada of IFC (in 2001) and AMC (in 2006), and in Europe of SundanceTV (in 2010) and AMC (in 2014). One or more of AMC Networks International's channels are available in more than 125 countries and territories worldwide.
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Revenue
We earn revenue principally from the distribution of our programming and the sale of advertising. Distribution revenues primarily include fees paid by distributors to carry our programming networks, revenue earned from the licensing of original programming and subscription fees paid for our streaming services. In 2020, distribution revenues and advertising sales accounted for 69% and 31% of our consolidated revenues, net, respectively. For the year ended December 31, 2020, no customer accounted for greater than 10% of our consolidated revenues, net.
Distribution Revenue
Subscription revenue: Our programming networks are distributed to our viewing audience throughout the U.S. and around the world via cable and other multichannel video programming distribution platforms, including direct broadcast satellite ("DBS"), platforms operated by telecommunications providers and virtual MVPDs (collectively "distributors") pursuant to agreements with the distributors. Our subscription fee revenues are based on a per subscriber fee, and, to a lesser extent, fixed fees under multi-year contracts, commonly referred to as "affiliation agreements," which generally provide for annual rate increases. The specific subscription fee revenues we earn vary from period to period, distributor to distributor and also vary among our networks, but are generally based upon the number of each distributor's subscribers who receive our programming, referred to as viewing subscribers. These agreements also give us the right to sell a specific amount of advertising time on our programming networks. Our programming networks' existing distribution agreements expire at various dates through 2028. For our AMC Networks Streaming Services, we earn monthly fees as the streaming service is provided to our customers.
We frequently negotiate with distributors in an effort to increase the subscriber base for our networks. We have in some instances made upfront payments to distributors in exchange for these additional subscribers. We also may help fund the distributors' efforts to market our programming networks or we may permit distributors to offer limited promotional periods without payment of subscriber fees. As we continue our efforts to add subscribers, our subscriber revenue may be negatively affected by such deferred carriage fee arrangements, discounted subscriber fees and other payments, however, we believe that these transactions generate a positive return on investment over the contract period.
Content licensing revenue: We sell rights to our owned original programming and content acquired under long-term distribution arrangements for distribution in a variety of forms including television markets worldwide, streaming services or digital platform providers, such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, electronic-sell-through (EST) and physical (DVD and Blu-ray) formats.
Advertising Revenue
We earn advertising revenue by selling advertising time on our programming networks, on digital platforms we own and also on an increasing number of AVOD platforms. In the U.S., we sell advertising time in both the upfront and scatter markets. In the upfront market, advertisers buy advertising time for the upcoming season, and by purchasing in advance, often receive discounted rates. In the scatter market, advertisers buy advertising time close to the time when the commercials will be run, and often pay a premium. The mix between the upfront and scatter markets is based upon a number of factors, such as pricing, demand for advertising time and economic conditions. Internationally, advertising markets vary by jurisdiction. The majority of international advertising is sold close to the time when the commercials will be run (similar to the U.S. scatter market) and we are generally represented by third-party sales agents.
Our arrangements with advertisers provide for a set number of advertising units to air over a specific period of time at a negotiated price per unit. In most domestic advertising sales arrangements, our programming networks guarantee specified viewer ratings for their programming. If these guaranteed viewer ratings are not met, we are generally required to provide additional advertising units to the advertiser at no charge. For these types of arrangements, a portion of the related revenue is deferred if the guaranteed viewer ratings are not met and is subsequently recognized either when we provide the required additional advertising unit or the guarantee obligation contractually expires. In the U.S., most of our advertising revenues vary based upon the popularity of our programming as measured by Nielsen. In addition to the Nielsen rating, our advertising rates are also influenced by the demographic mix of our viewing audiences, since advertisers tend to pay premium rates for more desirable demographic groups of viewers.
Our programming networks have advertisers representing companies in a broad range of sectors, including automotive, restaurants/food, health, and telecommunications industries.
Programming
We obtain programming through a combination of development, production and licensing; and we distribute programming directly to consumers in the U.S. and throughout the world through our programming networks, streaming services, and other forms of distribution and theatrical release of our IFC Films acquired content. Our programming includes original programming that we control, either through outright ownership or through long-term licensing arrangements, as well as acquired programming that we license from studios and other rights holders. Since the founding of our first channel in 1980,
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we have been a pioneer in the cable television programming industry, having created or developed some of the industry's leading programming networks, with a focus on programming of film and original productions. Certain of our programming networks feature original programming that includes critically-acclaimed original scripted dramatic series.
Original Programming
Through our AMC Studios operation, we increasingly produce and own more of our original programming, primarily for our programming networks and streaming services, and also for license to third parties worldwide. Decisions as to how to distribute programming are made on the basis of a variety of factors including the relative value of any particular alternative.
We also contract with some of the industry's leading production companies to produce original programming that appears on our programming networks and streaming services. These contractual arrangements either provide us with outright ownership of the programming, in which case we hold all programming and other rights to the content, or they consist of long-term licensing arrangements, which provide us with exclusive rights to exhibit the content on our programming networks, but may be limited in terms of specific geographic markets or distribution platforms. The license agreements are typically of multi-season duration and provide us with a right of first negotiation or a right of first refusal on the renewal of the license for additional programming seasons.
Acquired Programming
The majority of the content on our programming networks and streaming services consists of films, episodic series and specials that we acquire pursuant to rights agreements with film studios, production companies or other rights holders. This acquired programming includes episodic series such as Law and Order, The X-Files, Criminal Minds, CSI: Miami, Two and a Half Men and Batman, as well as an extensive film library. The rights agreements for this content are of varying duration and generally permit our programming networks and streaming services to carry these series, films and other programming during certain window periods.
SEGMENTS
We manage our business through the following two operating segments:
National Networks: Includes activities of our five national programming networks, AMC Studios operations and AMC Broadcasting & Technology. Our national programming networks are AMC, WE tv, BBC AMERICA, IFC, and SundanceTV. Our AMC Studios operation produces original programming for our programming networks and also licenses such programming worldwide. AMC Networks Broadcasting & Technology is our technical services business, which primarily services most of the national programming networks.
International and Other: Includes AMCNI, our international programming businesses consisting of a portfolio of channels around the world; AMC Networks Streaming Services consisting of our targeted subscription streaming services (Acorn TV, Shudder, Sundance Now, ALLBLK), AMC+ and other streaming initiatives; Levity, our production services and comedy venues business; and IFC Films, our film distribution business.
For financial information of the Company by operating segment, see Item 7, "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations — Consolidated Results of Operations" and Note 23 to the accompanying consolidated financial statements.
National Networks
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AMC reached approximately 84 million Nielsen subscribers and had distribution agreements with all major U.S. and Canada distributors as of December 31, 2020.
AMC is home to some of the most popular and acclaimed programs on television. The network helped usher in what is commonly referred to as a “New Golden Age of Television,” with its debut of Mad Men in 2007 and Breaking Bad in 2008. With Mad Men, AMC became the first basic cable network to ever win the Emmy® Award for Outstanding Drama Series in 2008 after which it won the coveted award another four years in a row. Subsequently, AMC’s Breaking Bad won this Emmy® Award in 2013 and 2014. Both series are among the most critically acclaimed and awarded series in the history of television.
AMC's current slate of programming has a range of popular and critically-acclaimed series including The Walking Dead, the highest-rated series in cable history, Better Call Saul, Fear the Walking Dead, The Walking Dead:
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World Beyond and Gangs of London. AMC is also home to original unscripted shows including Talking Dead, Ride with Norman Reedus and Eli Roth’s History of Horror.

Upcoming series for AMC include 61st Street, from BAFTA-winner Peter Moffat and executive produced by Michael B. Jordan, and Kevin Can F**k Himself, from creator Valerie Armstrong and executive producers, Rashida Jones and Will McCormack, as well as Craig DiGregorio. AMC and The Walking Dead Chief Content Officer Scott Gimple have continued developing projects for The Walking Dead Universe, including the first in a series of theatrical films, in partnership with Universal Pictures and starring Andrew Lincoln, which continue the story of Rick Grimes. As part of Gimple’s multi-year plan for The Walking Dead Universe, there are other projects currently in development, including additional films, specials, series, digital content and more.
AMC's film library consists of films that are licensed under long-term contracts with major studios such as Twentieth Century Fox, Warner Bros., Sony, MGM, NBC Universal, Paramount and Buena Vista. AMC generally structures its contracts for the exclusive cable television rights to air the films during identified window periods.


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WE tv reached approximately 78 million Nielsen subscribers and had distribution agreements with all major U.S. distributors as of December 31, 2020.
WE tv connects audiences with reality content that is authentic and relatable with compelling unscripted shows.
WE tv is available across all platforms: on TV, online, on demand, and social media, embracing how today's digitally-savvy, socially-engaged audiences connect through content, using it as a catalyst to drive conversation and build community.
Driven by unscripted originals, WE tv continues to grow its target audience, fueled by its popular slate of fresh and modern original series including its popular franchises Love After Lockup, and Growing Up Hip Hop, as well as Thursday night phenomenon Braxton Family Values, and cult favorite Bridezillas, which has helped to cement the network's position as the #1 U.S. cable network for African-American women on Thursday and Friday nights. WE tv’s reality series include Love After Lockup as well as the spinoff Love After Lockup: Life After Lockup, with both shows averaging more than a million viewers in Nielsen Live + 3 ratings.
Additionally, WE tv's programming includes series such as CSI: Miami and Law & Order as well as feature films, with certain exclusive license rights from studios such as Paramount, MGM, Disney and Warner Bros.

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A joint venture between AMC Networks and BBC Studios (the commercial arm of the BBC), BBC AMERICA reached approximately 76 million Nielsen subscribers and had distribution agreements with all major U.S. distributors as of December 31, 2020.
The network has attracted wide critical acclaim for its influential series, including its Peabody Award-winning original series Killing Eve. Created by multi-award winner Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Fleabag), the series stars Sandra Oh, who won the Golden Globe and Critics' Choice Award for Best Actress in a Drama Series for her role as Eve, and co-star, Jodie Comer, who won a BAFTA Award and Emmy Award for her iconic portrayal of assassin Villanelle. Season four is slated to go into production later this year.
BBC AMERICA is the definitive home and co-producer of the most iconic natural history programming from the BBC, including Planet Earth II, Blue Planet II, Dynasties, the Sir David Attenborough-narrated series Seven Worlds, One Planet, which marks the first time the story of earth’s seven continents has been told in a single series, as well as the return of the Emmy® winning series Frozen Planet II and Planet Earth III – all a part of the network’s new Saturday nature television destination, Wonderstruck, which transforms the network every Saturday into a 24-hour destination for wildlife programming.
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BBCA’s shows such as Doctor Who, Orphan Black, Luther and Broadchurch have attracted broad critical acclaim. Its unscripted slate includes the iconic car show Top Gear, The Graham Norton Show and the world’s biggest darts championships. The network recently premiered a new series, The Watch, based on Sir Terry Pratchett’s “Discworld” novels, which have sold more than 90 million books worldwide.

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IFC reached approximately 71 million Nielsen subscribers and had distribution agreements with all major U.S. distributors as of December 31, 2020.
IFC is the home of offbeat, unexpected comedies that are in keeping with the network's "Always On Slightly Off" brand, which air alongside fan-favorite movies and comedic cult TV shows.
Acclaimed series include the Emmy-nominated Documentary Now!, created by Seth Meyers, Bill Hader and Fred Armisen and executive produced by Lorne Michaels; Brockmire, starring Hank Azaria and Amanda Peet; all-female sketch comedy series Baroness von Sketch Show; the Critics' Choice Award-nominated Sherman’s Showcase, created by and starring Bashir Salahuddin and executive produced by John Legend’s Get Lifted Film Co. and RadicalMedia, and which earned a 100% Certified Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes and inclusion on numerous ‘Best of 2019’ lists. IFC is also the broadcast home of the Independent Spirit Awards, the first event to honor independent film exclusively and an annual celebration of the spirited pioneers who bring a unique vision to filmmaking.
IFC's programming also includes films from various film distributors, including Fox, Miramax, Sony, Lionsgate, Universal, Paramount and Warner Bros.

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SundanceTV reached approximately 66 million Nielsen subscribers and had distribution agreements with all major U.S. distributors as of December 31, 2020.
SundanceTV has remained true to founder Robert Redford’s mission to celebrate creativity and distinctive storytelling through unique voices and narratives found in the best independent films since its launch in 1996. From delivering critically acclaimed Emmy®, Golden Globe® and Peabody Award-winning television featuring some of the world’s most talented creators and performers, to showcasing some of the most compelling and iconic films across genres and generations, SundanceTV is a smart and thought-provoking entertainment destination.
Working with today's most innovative talent, SundanceTV attracts viewer and critical acclaim for its original scripted programming and true-crime documentaries, including the Peabody-award winning Rectify, Top of the Lake and second installment, Top of the Lake: China Girl, directed by Oscar-winning Jane Campion and starring Elisabeth Moss and Nicole Kidman; fan favorite Hap and Leonard; Liar, starring Golden Globe-winner and Emmy-nominated actress Joanne Froggatt (Downton Abbey); the Peabody and International Emmy-Award winning series Deutschland 83; original drama The Split with a female-led cast and crew from BAFTA and Primetime Emmy Award®-winning writer Abi Morgan and BAFTA-winning Executive Producer Jane Featherstone; and true-crime series, including Cold Blooded: The Clutter Family Murders from Academy Award® winning documentarian Joe Berlinger; Jonestown: Terror in the Jungle from Executive Producers Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Davisson and Stephen David; as well as Ministry of Evil: The Twisted Cult of Tony Alamo from Emmy Award®-winners Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato, and Peacock Productions; and The Preppie Murder with Emmy® Award- winner Robert Friedman's Bungalow Media + Entertainment and the original prosecutor in the case, Linda Fairstein.
SundanceTV includes critically acclaimed short-form series State of the Union, written by Academy Award-nominated and BAFTA-winning writer Nick Hornby and directed by multi-award-winning film and TV director Stephen Frears. The series swept the 2019 Creative Arts Emmy Awards Short Form category, winning Outstanding Series, as well as Outstanding Actor and Actress for Chris O’Dowd and Rosamund Pike.

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AMC Studios is our in-house studio, production and distribution operation. AMC Studios launched in 2010 with its first series, The Walking Dead, the highest-rated series in cable history.
Since then, AMC Studios has produced several critically acclaimed, award-winning and culturally distinctive originals for AMC, including scripted series: Fear the Walking Dead, The Terror anthology, Lodge 49, NOS4A2, TURN: Washington's Spies; Halt and Catch Fire; Into the Badlands; The Son; Dispatches From Elsewhere, Soulmates, 61st Street, and Kevin Can F**k Himself; as well as unscripted series: Ride with Norman Reedus, Robert Kirkman's Secret History of Comics, James Cameron's Story Of Science Fiction, Eli Roth’s History of Horror, and Hip Hop: The Songs That Shook America.
The Studio also produced BBC AMERICA’s Dirk Gently and SundanceTV’s Peabody Award-winning Rectify, original series Hap and Leonard, and unscripted series Cold Blooded: The Clutter Family Murders and The Preppy Murder: Death in Central Park.

AMC Networks Broadcasting & Technology

AMC Networks Broadcasting & Technology is a full-service network programming feed origination and distribution company, which primarily services most of the national programming networks of the Company.
AMC Networks Broadcasting & Technology's operations are located in Bethpage, New York, where AMC Networks Broadcasting & Technology consolidates origination and satellite communications functions in a 67,000 square-foot facility designed to keep AMC Networks at the forefront of network origination and distribution technology. AMC Networks Broadcasting & Technology has 30 plus years of experience across its network services groups, including network origination, affiliate engineering, network transmission, traffic and scheduling that provide day-to-day delivery of any programming network, in high definition or standard definition.

International and Other
Our International and Other segment includes the operations of AMCNI, AMC Networks Streaming Services, IFC Films and Levity.
AMC Networks International
AMCNI, the international division of the Company, delivers entertaining and acclaimed programming that reaches subscribers in more than 125 countries and territories around the world, through operational centers in London, Madrid, Budapest, Miami and Buenos Aires.
AMCNI consists of our premiere global brand, AMC, as well as a portfolio of popular, locally recognized brands delivering programming in a wide range of genres. Channels reaching different countries are programmed for local audiences, languages and markets.
AMCNI also operates a number of joint venture partnerships and managed channel services as well as direct to consumer services. A joint venture with CBS Studios, delivers a portfolio of entertainment channels which is managed from London. A joint venture in Madrid with Hearst delivers The History Channel Iberia and with NOS in Portugal delivers Canal Hollywood, Canal Panda and Biggs.
Highlights of the top AMCNI locally recognized channels are detailed below:

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Elgourmet is a Latin American family oriented culinary channel with broad appeal across all ages and socioeconomic classes.
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The channel was launched over 20 years ago and has 200+ hours of original content featuring local and international talent.
Elgourmet has won the Martin Fierro Award 14 times (granted by the Association of Argentine Television and Radio Journalists) and has won the Taste Award with Abuelita linda as best Latin American Series.

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Our U.K. business operates a joint venture with CBS Studios delivering a portfolio of entertainment channels in the U.K. including CBS Reality, CBS Europa, CBS Justice and Horror Channel.
CBS Reality is increasingly airing owned locally produced ‘true crime’ content aimed at women in the 50+ demographic. These documentary style programs re-visit famous U.K. based crimes and investigate the psychology of a killer.

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Jim Jam is a pre-school kids channel aimed at 2-6 year-olds, focusing on education and teaching English.
Popular content includes Bob The Builder, Fireman Sam, Thomas and Friends and Chuggington.
Jim Jam reaches subscribers in over 60 EMEA countries.

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Canal Hollywood is one of the leading pay-TV film channels in Spain and Portugal, offering a wide selection of movies produced by major U.S. studios.
Genres include comedy, drama, thriller, western, musical, and science fiction and the industry’s biggest stars.
The channel began broadcasting in 1993 and is distributed on all pay-TV platforms in Spain and Portugal, reaching more than 9 million households.


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Sports 1 & Sports 2 are premium sports channels in our core Central European territories.
The channels broadcast European football, Formula 1, NBA and Ice Hockey among other live sports events.

AMC Networks Streaming Services
AMC Networks Streaming Services ended 2020 with more than 6 million total Company aggregate paid streaming subscribers.
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In 2020, we launched AMC+, the destination for genre-defying storytelling, Ad Free and On Demand.
AMC+ features content from award-winning series and popular movies, to essential horror, acclaimed comedies, true crime, and more.
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AMC+ features the best content from AMC, BBC America, IFC and Sundance, as well as the content offerings of Shudder, Sundance Now, and IFC Unlimited.
It is an Ad-free service broadly available across wide array of platforms.
AMC+ includes early releases and exclusive content.

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We also own and operate four targeted streaming services through our direct to consumer business. The four services are Acorn TV, Shudder, Sundance Now, and ALLBLK (previously known as Urban Movie Channel). These services are available in the United States, Canada, parts of Latin America and Europe, Australia and New Zealand.
Acorn TV features high-quality British and International mysteries and dramas.
Shudder is dedicated to films in the horror, suspense and thriller genres.
Sundance Now features independent film, TV shows, documentaries, and original series.
ALLBLK (formerly UMC) showcases quality urban programming including feature films, documentaries, original series, stand-up comedy and other exclusive content for African-American and urban audiences.
In addition, we own a majority interest in Agatha Christie Ltd., a popular world-class franchise and control, co-produce, and either own or have long-term distribution rights to a large library of content primarily consisting of British mysteries and dramas, independent feature films and urban content. In addition to supporting our streaming services, we monetize our library through distribution operations across virtually all available media platforms and is distributed in the United States, Canada, U.K. and Australia.

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IFC Films, our film distribution business, is a leading distributor of high-quality, talent-driven independent films and operates three distribution labels: IFC Films, Sundance Selects, and IFC Midnight, all of which distribute independent films across virtually all available media platforms, including in theaters, on cable/satellite video on demand, cable network television, streaming/downloading to internet-connected screens and DVDs. IFC Films has a film library consisting of more than 800 titles.
As part of its strategy to grow the marketplace for independent films, IFC Films also operates the IFC Center as well as several film festivals. IFC Center is an independent movie theater located in the heart of New York City's Greenwich Village. DOC NYC, which is the largest non-fiction film festival in the U.S., is an annual festival celebrating documentary storytelling in film, photography, prose and other media. Split Screens festival is an annual event celebrating the art and cultural impact of television that takes place at the IFC Center.
Notable releases include the acclaimed The Death of Stalin, with Steve Buscemi, which was awarded Best Screenplay by the prestigious National Society of Film Critics. The film was also widely recognized in critics’ annual End-of-Year “Best of” lists, including The New York Times, Indiewire, Vulture, The Washington Post and Buzzfeed. The Paul Dano-directed Wildlife, starring Carey Mulligan and Jake Gyllenhaal, debuted in early 2018 at the Sundance Film Festival and went on to open the prestigious Critics’ Week at the Cannes Film Festival.
Other notable releases include The Clovehitch Killer (distributed under the IFC Midnight label), Ghost Stories, and Lars von Trier’s The House That Jack Built.

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In April 2018, we acquired a controlling interest in Levity, an entertainment company that owns and operates comedy venues and produces original content for distribution on multiple platforms, including live, digital and linear television.
Levity is a leading player in live comedy with premium comedy venues in the U.S., including the legendary comedy brand, The Improv. Levity's comedy venues have been temporarily closed since March 2020. Levity also operates a talent management business and produces television content, including prime time specials with some of the biggest names in comedy, including Trevor Noah, Tracy Morgan, Margaret Cho, Sebastian Maniscalco and Gad Elmaleh.

REGULATION
Our businesses are subject to and affected by regulations of U.S. federal, state and local government authorities, and our international operations are subject to laws and regulations of the countries in which they operate, as well as international bodies, such as the European Union. The Federal Communications Commission (the "FCC") regulates U.S. programming networks directly in some respects; other FCC regulations, although imposed on cable television operators and satellite operators, affect programming networks indirectly. The rules, regulations, policies and procedures affecting our businesses are constantly subject to change and increasingly, legislative and regulatory proposals seek to cover all sources of content, including the digital platforms over which we offer content, which may affect our regulatory burdens in the future. The descriptions below are summary in nature and do not purport to describe all present and proposed laws and regulations affecting our businesses.
Closed Captioning
Certain of our networks must provide closed-captioning of programming for the hearing impaired, and we must provide closed captioning on certain video content that we offer on the Internet or through other Internet Protocol distribution methods.
CALM Act
FCC rules require MVPDs to ensure that all commercials comply with specified volume standards, and our distribution agreements generally require us to certify compliance with such standards.
Obscenity Restrictions
Cable operators and other MVPDs are prohibited from transmitting obscene programming, and our distribution agreements generally require us to refrain from including such programming on our networks.
Program Carriage
The FCC recently made changes to the program carriage rules, which prohibit distributors from favoring their affiliated programming networks over unaffiliated similarly situated programming networks in the rates, terms and conditions of carriage agreements between programming networks and cable operators or other MVPDs. Some of these changes could make it more difficult for our programming networks to challenge a distributor’s decision to decline to carry one of our programming networks or a distributor action mid-contract that discriminates against one of our programming networks.
Packaging Programming and Volume Discounts
The FCC from time to time examines whether to adopt rules restricting how programmers package and price their networks, or whether to impose other restrictions on carriage agreements between programmers and MVPDs. We do not currently require distributors to carry more than one of our national programming networks in order to obtain the right to carry a particular national programming network. However, we generally negotiate with a distributor for the carriage of all of our national networks concurrently, and we offer volume discounts to distributors who make our programming available to larger numbers of subscribers or who carry more of our programming networks.
Some states also have sought to regulate the manner in which MVPDs package and offer programming. We generally do not allow our networks or individual programs on those networks today to be offered by distributors on an a la carte basis.
Effect of "Must-Carry" and "Retransmission Consent" Requirements
The FCC's implementation of the statutory "must-carry" obligations requires cable and DBS operators to give certain broadcasters preferential access to channel space, and FCC "retransmission consent" rules allow broadcasters to require cable and DBS operators to carry broadcast-affiliated networks as a condition of access to the local broadcast station and to charge substantial fees for both carriage of the local broadcast station and the broadcast-affiliated networks. In contrast, programming networks, such as ours, have no guaranteed right of carriage on cable television or DBS systems. These carriage laws may reduce the amount of channel space that is available for carriage of our networks by cable television systems and DBS
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operators, or the amount of programming funds that cable and DBS operators have available for carriage of our networks.
Website Requirements
We maintain various websites that provide information regarding our businesses and offer content for sale. The operation of these websites may be subject to a range of federal, state and local laws such as privacy, data security, accessibility, child safety and consumer protection regulations. For example, most states have enacted laws that impose data security and security breach obligations, and new frameworks regulating consumer privacy have recently been established at the state level and overseas, including the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, and the California Consumer Privacy Act, or CCPA. The GDPR and the CCPA impose, among other things, more stringent operational requirements for processors and controllers of personal data, including expanded disclosures about how personal information is to be used, and increased liability for violations.
Other Regulation
The FCC also imposes rules that may impact us regarding a variety of issues such as advertising in children's television, and telemarketing. Programming businesses are subject to regulation by the country in which they operate, as well as international bodies, such as the European Union. These regulations may include restrictions on types of advertising that can be sold on our networks, programming content requirements, requirements to make programming available on non-discriminatory terms, and local content quotas.
COMPETITION
Our programming services, consisting of linear networks and streaming services, operate in three highly competitive markets. First, our programming services compete with other programming services to obtain distribution on cable television systems and other multichannel video programming distribution systems, and ultimately for viewing by each distributor's subscribers. Second, our programming services compete with other programming services and other sources of video content, to secure desired entertainment programming. Third, our programming services compete with other sellers of advertising time and space, including other cable programming networks, radio, newspapers, outdoor media and, increasingly, internet sites. The success of our businesses depends on our ability to license and produce content for our programming services that is adequate in quantity and quality and will generate satisfactory viewer ratings. In each of these cases, some of our competitors are large publicly held companies that have greater financial resources than we do.
Distribution of Programming Networks
The business of distributing programming networks to cable television systems and other MVPDs and licensing of original programming for distribution is highly competitive. Our programming networks face competition from other programming networks for carriage by a particular MVPD, and for the carriage on the service tier that will attract the most subscribers. Once our programming network is selected by a distributor for carriage, that network competes for viewers not only with the other programming networks available on the distributor's system, but also with over-the-air broadcast television, Internet-based video and other online services, mobile services, radio, print media, motion picture theaters, DVDs, and other sources of information and entertainment.
Important to our success in each area of competition we face are the prices we charge for our programming networks, the quantity, quality and variety of the programming offered on our networks, and the effectiveness of our networks' marketing efforts. The competition for viewers among advertiser supported networks is directly correlated with the competition for advertising revenues with each of our competitors.
Our ability to successfully compete with other networks may be hampered because the cable television systems or other MVPDs through which we seek distribution may be affiliated with other programming networks. In addition, because such distributors may have a substantial number of subscribers, the ability of such programming networks to obtain distribution on the systems of affiliated distributors may lead to increased distribution and advertising revenue for such programming networks because of their increased penetration compared to our programming networks. Even if such affiliated distributors carry our programming networks, such distributors may place their affiliated programming network on a more desirable tier, thereby giving the affiliated programming network a competitive advantage over our own.
New or existing programming networks that are affiliated with broadcasting networks like ABC, CBS, Fox or NBC may also have a competitive advantage over our programming networks in obtaining distribution through the "bundling" of agreements to carry those programming networks with agreements giving the distributor the right to carry a broadcast station affiliated with the broadcasting network.
Part of our strategy involves exploiting identified segments of the cable television viewing audience that are generally well defined and limited in size. Our networks have faced and will continue to face increasing competition as other programming networks and online or other services seek to serve the same or similar niches.
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We also seek to increase our content licensing revenues by expanding the opportunities for licensing our programming through other media platforms and we compete with other programming companies in this market based on the desirability of our programming.
Sources of Programming
We also compete with other programming networks and other distributors including digital distribution platforms to secure desired programming. Most of our original programming and all of our acquired programming is obtained through agreements with other parties that have produced or own the rights to such programming. Competition for this programming will increase as the number of programming networks and other distributors increases. Other programming networks or streaming services that are affiliated with programming sources such as movie or television studios or film libraries may have a competitive advantage over us in this area.
With respect to the acquisition of entertainment programming, such as syndicated programs and movies that are not produced by or specifically for networks, our competitors include national broadcast television networks, local broadcast television stations, other cable programming networks, Internet-based video content distributors, and video-on-demand programs. Some of these competitors have exclusive contracts with motion picture studios or independent motion picture distributors or own film libraries.
Competition for Advertising Revenue
Our programming networks must compete with other sellers of advertising time and space, including other MVPDs, radio, newspapers, outdoor media and increasing shifts in spending toward online and mobile offerings from more traditional media. We compete for advertisers on the basis of rates we charge and also on the number and demographic nature of viewers who watch our programming. Advertisers will often seek to target their advertising content to those demographic categories they consider most likely to purchase the product or service they advertise. Accordingly, the demographic make-up of our viewership can be equally or more important than the number of viewers watching our programming.
HUMAN CAPITAL RESOURCES
At AMC Networks, our business is driven by telling original stories that entertain with vivid characters and worlds, that capture the imagination, and endure. We believe the strength of our workforce is one of the significant contributors to our success. Our key human capital management objectives are to invest in and support our employees so that we have the ability to attract, develop and retain a high performing and diverse workforce.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Our vision is to be an industry leader that thinks, operates and creates using diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) as a necessary lever for change and business results.
Our commitment to DEI at work ensures our success in all areas of our business. In 2020 we appointed our first Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer who reports to our CEO and is dedicated to helping us build a more diverse, equitable and inclusive culture in our workplace and in the stories we tell.
As part of our DEI efforts, the Company places a high value on engaging the organization in our Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) around the globe. The Company has ERGs across nine categories, including Asian American, Visible & Invisible Disabilities, Emerging Leaders, Parents & Caregivers, LGBTQIA+, Black, Hispanic and Women. We believe the ERGs help facilitate networking and connections with peers, support the acquisition of diverse talent internally and externally, act as a sounding board for content development and programming, provide an avenue to facilitate leadership and skill development and increase the organization’s overall cultural competency.
Talent
The Company employed 2,002 full-time employees and 355 part-time employees as of December 31, 2020. Our global workforce is over 50% women, with 44% of our senior leadership positions held by women. Over 27% of our U.S.-based workforce are people of color.
We aim to attract top talent through our corporate brand and our reputation for innovation and high quality content, as well as through the many benefits we offer. We aim to retain our talent by emphasizing our competitive rewards; offering opportunities that support employees both personally and professionally; and our commitment to fostering a positive corporate culture.
Our performance management practice includes frequent feedback and conversations between managers and team members, and talent reviews designed to identify potential future leaders and inform succession plans. We value continuous learning and development opportunities for our employees, which include: a robust internal mentorship program; dynamic
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teams that take a cross disciplinary approach to driving innovation and problem solving; leadership development programs; and tuition assistance.
Our benefit offerings are designed to meet the range of needs of our diverse workforce and include: adoption assistance; backup child/elder care; child care resources; college planning; domestic partner coverage; domestic partner tax equalization; employee assistance program; financial planning seminars; and a health advocate offering. These resources are intended to support the health, finance, and well-being of our employees.
In addition, for certain of our productions, the Company, through in-house and third party production service companies, engages the services of writers, directors, actors and various crew members who are subject to certain specially negotiated collective bargaining agreements. Since these agreements are generally entered into on a per-project basis, negotiations occur on various agreements throughout the year. We believe that our relations with the labor unions and our employees are generally good.
Engagement
We believe having an engaged workforce is key to employee retention and satisfaction. Communication is central to our engagement efforts and include monthly CEO-hosted Virtual Town Halls; ERG panels and events; a Talks@AMC Networks speaker series featuring notable business and creative leaders from across our industry; regular internal company communications about business developments and other company news; company intranet; and an annual all staff company-wide meeting.
We aim to give our employees a voice in a variety of ways, including through formal engagement surveys, which solicit feedback on a range of topics such as company direction and strategy, leadership and management transparency, and diversity and inclusion.
Culture
Our Company has a proud past and a long history of innovation and originality in our storytelling. This legacy informs who we are and is imbued in our corporate culture and in our values. We embrace collaboration, openness, approachability, as well as agility and creativity.
We strive to empower our employees to have community and social impact in meaningful ways. In 2020, we instituted two employee-led giving programs – a COVID-19 relief fund and a Social Justice fund. We asked employees to identify charitable organizations focused on COVID-19 related relief efforts and racial inequality, with each employee identified organization receiving a $1,000 donation from the Company.
Other initiatives to foster community and social impact include paid time off for full-time employees for Juneteenth, Election Day and a volunteer day of their choice.
AVAILABLE INFORMATION
Our corporate website is http://www.amcnetworks.com and the investor relations section of our website is located at http://investor.amcnetworks.com. We make available, free of charge through the investor relations section of our website, our annual reports on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and current reports on Form 8-K and amendments to those reports filed or furnished pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as well as our proxy statements, as soon as reasonably practicable after we electronically file such material with, or furnish it to, the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC"). References to our website in this Annual Report on Form 10-K (this "Annual Report") are provided as a convenience and the information contained on, or available through, the website is not part of this or any other report we file with or furnish to the SEC.
Item 1A. Risk Factors.
A wide range of risks may affect our business, financial condition and results of operations, now and in the future. We consider the risks described below to be the most significant. There may be other currently unknown or unpredictable economic, business, competitive, regulatory or other factors that could have material adverse effects on our future results.
Risks Relating to Our Business
Our business depends on the appeal of our programming to our U.S. and international viewers and our distributors, which may be unpredictable and volatile.
Our business depends, in part, upon viewer preferences and audience acceptance in the United States and internationally of the programming on our networks. These factors are often unpredictable and volatile, and subject to influences that are beyond our control, such as the quality and appeal of competing programming, general economic conditions and the availability of other entertainment activities. We may not be able to anticipate and react effectively to shifts in viewer preferences and/or interests in our markets. A change in viewer preferences has caused, and could in the future continue to cause, the audience for
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certain of our programming to decline, which has resulted in, and could in the future continue to result in, a reduction of advertising revenues and jeopardize our bargaining position with distributors. In addition, certain of our competitors may have more flexible programming arrangements, as well as greater amounts of available content, distribution and capital resources, and may react more quickly than we might to shifts in tastes and interests.
To an increasing extent, the success of our business depends on original programming, and our ability to accurately predict how audiences will respond to our original programming is particularly important. Because original programming often involves a greater degree of commitment on our part, as compared to acquired programming that we license from third parties, and because our network branding strategies depend significantly on a relatively small number of original programs such as The Walking Dead, a failure to anticipate viewer preferences for such programs could be especially detrimental to our business. We periodically review the programming usefulness of our program rights based on a series of factors, including ratings, type and quality of program material, standards and practices, and fitness for exhibition. We have incurred write-offs of programming rights in the past, and may incur future programming rights write-offs if it is determined that program rights have limited, or no, future usefulness.
In addition, feature films constitute a significant portion of the programming on our AMC, IFC and SundanceTV programming networks. In general, the popularity of feature-film content on linear television is declining, due in part to the broad availability of such content through an increasing number of distribution platforms. If the popularity of feature-film programming further declines, we may lose viewership, which could increase our costs.
If our programming does not gain the level of audience acceptance we expect, or if we are unable to maintain the popularity of our programming, our ratings may suffer, which will negatively affect advertising revenues, and we may have a diminished bargaining position with distributors, which could reduce our distribution revenues. Ratings for The Walking Dead have declined in recent years, which has had a negative effect on our advertising revenues and our financial results. We cannot assure you that we will be able to maintain the success of any of our current programming or generate sufficient demand and market acceptance for our new programming.
The failure to develop popular new programming to replace programming that is older or ending can have adverse impacts on our business and results of operations.
Changes in the operating environment of multichannel distributors, including declines in the number of subscribers, could have a material negative effect on our business and results of operations.
Our business derives a substantial portion of its revenues and income from cable television providers and other MVPDs. Subscription streaming services and virtual MVPDs are changing when, where and how audiences consume video content. These changes pose risks to the traditional U.S. television industry, including (i) the disruption of the traditional television content distribution model by subscription streaming services and virtual multichannel video programming services, which are increasing in number and some of which have a significant and growing subscriber base, and (ii) the disruption of the advertising supported television model resulting from increased video consumption through subscription streaming services and virtual multichannel video programming services with no advertising or less advertising than on television networks, and time shifted viewing of television programming. In part as a result of these changes, over the past few years, the number of subscribers to traditional MVPDs in the United States has declined and the U.S. television industry has experienced declines in ratings for programming, which has negatively affected subscription and advertising revenues. Developments in technology and new content delivery products and services have also led to an increasing amount of video content, as well as changes in consumers' expectations regarding the availability of video content, their willingness to pay for access to or ownership of such content, their perception of what quality entertainment is and their tolerance for commercial interruptions. We are engaged in efforts to respond to and mitigate the risks from these changes, but the success of some of these initiatives depends in part on the cooperation of measurement companies, advertisers and affiliates and, therefore, is not within our control. We have incurred significant costs to implement our strategy and initiatives, and if they are not successful, our competitive position, businesses and results of operations could be adversely affected.
Our programming services' success depends upon the availability of programming that is adequate in quantity and quality, and we may be unable to secure or maintain such programming.
Our programming services', consisting of linear networks and streaming services, success depends upon the availability of quality programming, particularly original programming and films, that is suitable for our target markets. While we produce certain of our original programming through our studio operations, we obtain most of the programming on our services (including original programming, films and other acquired programming) through agreements with third parties that have produced or control the rights to such programming. These agreements expire at varying times and may be terminated by the other parties if we are not in compliance with their terms.
Competition for programming has increased as the number of programming networks and streaming services has increased. Other programming networks and streaming services that are affiliated with programming sources such as movie or
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television studios or film libraries may have a competitive advantage over us in this area. In addition to other cable programming networks, we also compete for programming with national broadcast television networks, local broadcast television stations, video on demand services and subscription video on demand services, such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. Some of these competitors have exclusive contracts with motion picture studios or independent motion picture distributors or own film libraries.
We cannot assure you that we will ultimately be successful in producing or obtaining the quality programming our networks and streaming services need to be successful.
Increased programming costs may adversely affect our profits.
We produce a significant amount of original programming and other content and continue to invest in this area, the costs of which are significant. We also acquire programming and television series, as well as a variety of digital content and other ancillary rights from other companies, and we pay license fees, royalties or contingent compensation in connection with these acquired rights. Our investments in original and acquired programming are significant and involve complex negotiations with numerous third parties. These costs may not be recouped when the content is broadcast or distributed and higher costs may lead to decreased profitability or potential write-downs. Increased competition from additional entrants into the market for development and production of original programming, such as Apple, Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu, increases our programming content costs.
We incur costs for the creative talent, including actors, writers and producers, who create our original programming. Some of our original programming has achieved significant popularity and critical acclaim, which has increased and could continue to increase the costs of such programming in the future. In addition, from time to time we have disputes with writers, producers and other creative talent over the amount of royalty and other payments (See Item 3. – Legal Proceedings for additional information). We believe that disputes of this type are endemic to our business and similar disputes may arise from time to time in the future. An increase in the costs of programming may lead to decreased profitability or otherwise adversely affect our business.
Original programming requires substantial financial commitment. In some cases, the financial commitment may be partially offset by foreign, state or local tax incentives. However, there is a risk that the tax incentives will not remain available for the duration of a series. If tax incentives are no longer available, reduced substantially, or cannot be utilized, we may incur higher costs in order to complete the production or produce additional seasons. If we are unable to produce original programming content on a cost effective basis our business, financial condition and results of operations may be materially adversely affected.
Theft of our content, including digital copyright theft and other unauthorized exhibitions of our content, may decrease revenue received from our programming and adversely affect our businesses and profitability.
The success of our businesses depends in part on our ability to maintain and monetize our intellectual property rights to our entertainment content. We are fundamentally a content company and theft of our brands, programming, digital content and other intellectual property has the potential to significantly affect us and the value of our content. Copyright theft is particularly prevalent in many parts of the world that lack effective copyright and technical protective measures similar to those existing in the United States or that lack effective enforcement of such measures, including some of the jurisdictions in which we operate. The interpretation of copyright, privacy and other laws as applied to our content, and piracy detection and enforcement efforts, remain in flux. The failure to strengthen, or the weakening of, existing intellectual property laws could make it more difficult for us to adequately protect our intellectual property and negatively affect its value and our results of operations.
Content theft has been made easier by the wide availability of higher bandwidth and reduced storage costs, as well as tools that undermine security features such as encryption and the ability of pirates to cloak their identities online. In addition, we and our numerous production and distribution partners operate various technology systems in connection with the production and distribution of our programming, and intentional, or unintentional, acts could result in unauthorized access to our content, a disruption of our services, or improper disclosure of confidential information. The increasing use of digital formats and technologies heightens this risk. Unauthorized access to our content could result in the premature release of our programming, which may have a significant adverse effect on the value of the affected programming.
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Copyright theft has an adverse effect on our business because it reduces the revenue that we are able to receive from the legitimate sale and distribution of our content, undermines lawful distribution channels and inhibits our ability to recoup or profit from the costs incurred to create such content. A change in the laws of one jurisdiction may also have an impact on our ability to protect our intellectual property rights across other jurisdictions. In addition, many parts of the world where piracy is prevalent lack effective copyright and other legal protections or enforcement measures. Efforts to prevent the unauthorized distribution, performance and copying of our content may affect our profitability and may not be successful in preventing harm to our business.
Litigation may be necessary to enforce our intellectual property rights, protect trade secrets or to determine the validity and scope of proprietary rights claimed by others. Any litigation of this nature, regardless of outcome or merit, could result in substantial costs and diversion of management and technical resources, any of which could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. Our failure to protect our intellectual property rights, particularly our brand, in a meaningful manner or challenges to related contractual rights could result in erosion of our brand and limit our ability to control marketing of our networks, which could have a materially adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Because a limited number of distributors account for a large portion of our business, failure to renew our programming networks' distribution agreements, renewal on less favorable terms, or the termination of those agreements, both in the United States and internationally, could have a material adverse effect on our business.
Our programming networks depend upon agreements with a limited number of cable television system operators and other MVPDs. The loss of any significant distributor could have a material adverse effect on our consolidated results of operations.
Currently our programming networks have distribution agreements with staggered expiration dates through 2028. Failure to renew distribution agreements, or renewal on less favorable terms (including with respect to price, packaging, positioning and other marketing opportunities), or the termination of distribution agreements could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations. A reduced distribution of our programming networks would adversely affect our distribution revenues, and impact our ability to sell advertising or the rates we charge for such advertising. Even if distribution agreements are renewed, there is no assurance that the renewal rates will equal or exceed the rates that we currently charge these distributors.
In addition, we have, in some instances, made upfront payments to distributors in exchange for additional subscribers or have agreed to waive or accept lower subscription fees if certain numbers of additional subscribers are provided. We also may help fund our distributors' efforts to market our programming networks or we may permit distributors to offer promotional periods without payment of subscriber fees. As we continue our efforts to add viewing subscribers, our net revenues may be negatively affected by these deferred carriage fee arrangements, discounted subscriber fees or other payments.
Consolidation among cable, satellite and telecommunications service providers has had, and could continue to have, an adverse effect on our revenue and profitability.
Consolidation among cable and satellite distributors and telecommunications service providers has given the largest operators considerable leverage and market power in their relationships with programmers. We currently have agreements in place with the major U.S. cable and satellite operators and telecommunications service providers and this consolidation has affected, and could continue to affect, our ability to maximize the value of our content through those distributors. In addition, many of the countries and territories in which we distribute our networks also have a small number of dominant distributors.
In connection with consolidation in the industry, in some cases, if a distributor is acquired, the agreement of the acquiring distributor will govern following the acquisition. In those circumstances, the acquisition of a distributor that is party to one or more distribution agreements with our programming networks on terms that are more favorable to us could adversely impact our financial condition and results of operations. Continued consolidation within the industry could reduce the number of distributors that carry our programming and further increase the negotiating leverage of the cable and satellite television system operators, which could have an adverse effect on our financial condition or results of operations.
We are subject to intense competition, which may have a negative effect on our profitability or on our ability to expand our business.
The programming industry is highly competitive. Our programming networks and streaming services compete with other programming networks and other types of video programming services for marketing and distribution by cable and other multichannel video programming distribution systems and ultimately for viewing by their subscribers. We compete with other providers of programming networks for the right to be carried by a particular cable or other multichannel video programming distribution system and for the right to be carried by such system on a particular "tier" of service. The increasing offerings by virtual MVPDs through alternative distribution methods creates competition for carriage on those platforms. Our programming networks and streaming services compete with other programming networks, streaming services, and other sources of video content to secure desired entertainment programming.
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Competition for content, audiences and advertising is intense and comes from broadcast television, other cable networks, distributors, including subscription streaming services and virtual multichannel video programming services, social media content distributors, and other entertainment outlets and platforms, as well as from search, social networks, program guides and "second screen" applications.
Increased competition from additional entrants into the market for development and production of original programming, such as Apple, Facebook, YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu, increases our content costs as creating competing high quality, original content requires significant investment. In addition, as competition with these entrants for the creation and acquisition of quality programming continues to escalate, the complexity of negotiations over acquired rights to the content and the value of the rights we acquire or retain may increase, leading to increased acquisition costs, and our ability to successfully acquire content of the highest quality may face greater uncertainty.
Our ability to compete successfully depends on a number of factors, including our ability to create or acquire high quality and popular programs, adapt to new technologies and distribution platforms, and achieve widespread distribution for our content. More content consumption options increase competition for viewers as well as for programming and creative talent, which can decrease our audience ratings, and therefore potentially our advertising revenues.
Certain programming networks affiliated with broadcast networks like ABC, CBS, Fox or NBC or other key free-to-air programming networks in countries where our networks are distributed may have a competitive advantage over our programming networks in obtaining distribution through the "bundling" of carriage agreements for such programming networks with a distributor's right to carry the affiliated broadcasting network. In addition, our ability to compete with certain programming networks for distribution may be hampered because the cable television or other MVPDs through which we seek distribution may be affiliated with these programming networks. Because such distributors may have a substantial number of subscribers, the ability of such programming networks to obtain distribution on the systems of affiliated distributors may lead to increased distribution and advertising revenue for such programming networks because of their increased penetration compared to our programming networks. Even if the affiliated distributors carry our programming networks, they may place their affiliated programming network on a more desirable tier, thereby giving their affiliated programming network a competitive advantage over our own. Our competitors could also have preferential access to important technologies, customer data or other competitive information. There can be no assurance that we will be able to compete successfully in the future against existing or potential competitors, or that competition will not have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.
In addition, our competitors include market participants with interests in multiple media businesses that are often vertically integrated, whereas our businesses generally rely on distribution relationships with third parties. As more cable and satellite operators, Internet service providers, subscription streaming services, other content distributors, aggregators and search providers create or acquire their own content, they may have significant competitive advantages, which could adversely affect our ability to negotiate favorable terms and distribution or otherwise compete effectively in the delivery marketplace. Our competitors could also have preferential access to important technologies, customer data or other competitive information.
There can be no assurance that we will be able to compete successfully in the future against existing or new competitors, or that competition will not have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.
We may not be able to adapt to new content distribution platforms and to changes in consumer behavior resulting from these new technologies, which may adversely affect our business.
We must successfully adapt to technological advances in our industry, including alternative distribution platforms. Our ability to exploit new distribution platforms and viewing technologies will affect our ability to maintain or grow our business. New forms of content distribution may provide different economic models and compete with current distribution methods in ways that are not entirely predictable. Such competition has reduced and could continue to reduce demand for our traditional television offerings or for the offerings of digital platforms and, in turn, reduce our revenue from these sources. Accordingly, we must adapt to changing consumer behavior driven by advances such as virtual MVPDs, video on demand, subscription video on demand, including services such as Netflix, Hulu, Apple TV, Google TV and Amazon Prime and mobile devices. Gaming and other consoles such as Microsoft's Xbox and Roku are establishing themselves as alternative providers of video services. Such changes may impact the revenues we are able to generate from our traditional distribution methods, either by decreasing the viewership of our programming networks on cable and other multichannel video programming distribution systems which are almost entirely directed at television video delivery or by making advertising on our programming networks less valuable to advertisers. If we fail to adapt our distribution methods and content to new technologies, our appeal to our targeted audiences might decline and there could be a negative effect on our business. In addition, advertising revenues could be significantly impacted by new technologies, since advertising sales are dependent on audience measurement provided by third parties, and the results of audience measurement techniques can vary independent of the size of the audience for a variety of reasons, including difficulties related to the employed statistical sampling methods, new distribution platforms and viewing technologies, and the shifting of the marketplace to the use of measurement of different viewer behaviors, such as delayed
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viewing. Moreover, devices that allow users to fast forward or skip programming, including commercials, are causing changes in consumer behavior that may affect the desirability of our programming services to advertisers.
Our efforts to attract and retain streaming subscribers may not be successful, which may adversely affect our business
Our ability to continue to attract subscribers will depend in part on our ability to consistently provide compelling content choices, effectively market our streaming services, as well as provide a quality experience for subscribers. Furthermore, the relative service levels, content offerings, pricing and related features of competitors to our service may adversely impact our ability to attract and retain subscribers. We must continually add new subscriptions both to replace canceled subscriptions and to grow our streaming services beyond our current subscription base. While we permit multiple users within the same household to share a single account for noncommercial purposes, if account sharing is abused, our ability to add new subscribers may be hindered and our results of operations may be adversely impacted. If we do not grow as expected, given, in particular, that our content costs are largely fixed in nature and contracted over several years, we may not be able to adjust our expenditures or increase our (per subscription) revenues commensurate with the lowered growth rate such that our margins, liquidity and results of operation may be adversely impacted. If we are unable to successfully compete with current and new competitors in both retaining our existing subscriptions and attracting new subscriptions, our streaming services will be adversely affected. Further, if excessive numbers of subscribers cancel our services, we may be required to incur significantly higher marketing expenditures than we currently anticipate to replace these subscribers with new subscribers.
Advertising market conditions in specific markets could cause our revenues and operating results to decline significantly in any given period.
We derive substantial revenues from the sale of advertising on a variety of platforms, and a decline in advertising expenditures could have a significant adverse effect on our revenues and operating results in any given period. The strength of the advertising market can fluctuate in response to the economic prospects of specific advertisers or industries, advertisers' current spending priorities and the economy in general, and this may adversely affect the growth rate of our advertising revenues.
In addition, the pricing and volume of advertising may be affected by shifts in spending toward online and mobile offerings from more traditional media, or toward new ways of purchasing advertising, such as through automated purchasing, dynamic advertising insertion, third parties selling local advertising spots and advertising exchanges, some or all of which may not be as advantageous to us as current advertising methods. The increasing number of entertainment choices available to consumers has intensified audience fragmentation and reduced the viewing of content through traditional and virtual multichannel video programming providers, which has caused, and may continue to cause, audience ratings declines for our programming networks and may adversely affect the pricing and volume of advertising
Advertising sales are dependent on audience measurement, and the results of audience measurement techniques can vary independent of the size of the audience for a variety of reasons, including variations in the employed statistical sampling methods. While Nielsen's statistical sampling method is the primary measurement technique used in our television advertising sales, we measure and monetize our campaign reach and frequency on and across digital platforms based on other third-party data using a variety of methods including the number of impressions served and demographics. In addition, multi-platform campaign verification is in its infancy, and viewership on tablets and smartphones, which is growing rapidly, is presently not measured by any one consistently applied method. These variations and changes could have a significant effect on advertising revenues.
Economic and Operational Risks
The coronavirus, or COVID-19, pandemic has significantly impacted worldwide economic conditions and could have a material adverse effect on our operations and business.
During 2020, the rapid spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and the continuously evolving responses to combat it have had a negative impact on the global economy.
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The impact of COVID-19 and measures to prevent its spread have affected and may, in the future, affect our businesses in a number of ways. Beginning in mid-March, we have experienced adverse advertising sales impacts, suspended content production, which has led to delays in the creation and availability of substantially all of our programming, and the temporary closure of our comedy venues. In the third quarter of 2020, the Company commenced production activities, however substantially all Company employees continue to work remotely, and the Company continues to restrict business travel. If significant portions of our workforce, including key personnel, are unable to work effectively because of illness, government actions or other restrictions in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic, the impact of the pandemic on our businesses could be exacerbated. In addition, work-from-home arrangements may heighten the operational risks, including cybersecurity risks, to which we are subject. Delays in the widespread distribution, or lack of public acceptance, of vaccines could lead people to continue to self-isolate, which could perpetuate the adverse effects of COVID-19 on economic conditions. Further, even if vaccines are widely distributed and used, there can be no assurance that vaccines will ultimately be successful in limiting or stopping the spread of COVID-19 or mitigating the impact of COVID-19 on economic conditions.
The Company has evaluated and continues to evaluate the potential impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on its consolidated financial statements, including the impairment of goodwill (see Note 9) and indefinite-lived intangible assets and the fair value and collectability of receivables. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a material impact on the Company's operations since mid-March 2020. The Company cannot reasonably predict the ultimate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the extent of any adverse impact on our business, results of operations and financial condition, which will depend on, among other things, the duration and spread of the pandemic, the impact of governmental regulations that have been, and may continue to be, imposed in response to the pandemic, the effectiveness of actions taken to contain or mitigate the outbreak, the availability, safety and efficacy of a vaccine, and global economic conditions. The Company does not expect the COVID-19 pandemic and its related economic impact to affect its liquidity position or its ongoing ability to meet the covenants in its debt instruments.
In addition to the risks described above, to the extent that COVID-19 adversely affects our operations and financial condition, it may also heighten other risks described in this section.
We face risks from doing business internationally.
We have operations through which we distribute programming outside the United States. As a result, our business is subject to certain risks inherent in international business, many of which are beyond our control. These risks include:
laws and policies affecting trade and taxes, including laws and policies relating to the repatriation of funds and withholding taxes, and changes in these laws;
changes in local regulatory requirements, including restrictions on content, imposition of local content quotas and restrictions on foreign ownership;
exchange controls, tariffs and other trade barriers;
differing degrees of protection for intellectual property and varying attitudes towards the piracy of intellectual property;
foreign privacy and data protection laws and regulations, as well as data localization requirements, and changes in these laws and requirements;
the instability of foreign economies and governments;
war and acts of terrorism; and
anti-corruption laws and regulations such as the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the U.K. Bribery Act that impose stringent requirements on how we conduct our foreign operations and changes in these laws and regulations.
Events or developments related to the risks described above as well as other risks associated with international trade could adversely affect our revenues from non-U.S. sources, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, operating results, liquidity and prospects.
Economic problems in the United States or in other parts of the world could adversely affect our results of operations.
Our business is affected by prevailing economic and financial conditions in the United States and other countries. We derive substantial revenues from advertisers, and these expenditures are sensitive to general economic conditions and consumer buying patterns. Financial instability or a general decline in economic conditions, including as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, disruptions to financial markets, inflation, recession, high unemployment or geopolitical events in the United States and other countries where our networks are distributed, have in the past adversely affected advertising rates and volume, which has resulted in a decrease in our advertising revenues.
Decreases in consumer discretionary spending in the U.S and other countries where our networks are distributed may affect cable television and other video service subscriptions, in particular with respect to digital service tiers on which certain of our programming networks are carried. This could lead to a decrease in the number of subscribers receiving our programming
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from MVPDs, which could, in turn, have a negative impact on our viewing subscribers and subscription fee revenues. Similarly, a decrease in viewing subscribers could have a negative impact on the number of viewers actually watching the programs on our programming networks, thereby impacting the rates we are able to charge advertisers.
Economic conditions affect a number of aspects of our businesses worldwide and impact the businesses of advertisers on our networks. Adverse economic conditions have resulted in and could in the future result in advertisers reducing their spending on advertising and negatively affect the ability of those with whom we do business to satisfy their obligations to us. The worsening of current global economic conditions could adversely affect our business, financial condition or results of operations, and worsening of economic conditions in certain specific parts of the world could impact the expansion and success of our businesses in such areas. Furthermore, some foreign markets in which we operate may be more adversely affected by worsening economic conditions than the United States or other countries.
Fluctuations in foreign exchange rates could have an adverse effect on our results of operations.
We have significant operations in a number of foreign jurisdictions and certain of our operations are conducted in foreign currencies. The value of these currencies fluctuates relative to the U.S. dollar. As a result, we are exposed to exchange rate fluctuations, which have had, and may in the future have, an adverse effect on our results of operations in a given period.
Specifically, we are exposed to foreign currency exchange rate risk to the extent that we enter into transactions denominated in currencies other than ours or our subsidiaries' respective functional currencies, such as trade receivables, programming contracts, notes payable and notes receivable (including intercompany amounts) that are denominated in a currency other than the applicable functional currency. Changes in exchange rates with respect to amounts recorded in our consolidated balance sheets related to these items will result in unrealized or realized (based upon period-end exchange rates) foreign currency transaction gains or losses upon settlement of the transactions. Moreover, to the extent that our revenue, costs and expenses are denominated in currencies other than our or our subsidiaries' respective functional currencies, we will experience fluctuations in our revenue, costs and expenses solely as a result of changes in foreign currency exchange rates.
We also are exposed to unfavorable and potentially volatile fluctuations of the U.S. dollar (our reporting currency) against the currencies of our non-U.S. dollar functional currency operating subsidiaries when their respective financial statements are translated into U.S. dollars for inclusion in our consolidated financial statements. Cumulative translation adjustments are recorded in accumulated other comprehensive income (loss) as a separate component of equity. Any increase (decrease) in the value of the U.S. dollar against any foreign currency that is the functional currency of one of our operating subsidiaries will cause us to experience unrealized foreign currency translation losses (gains) with respect to amounts already invested in such foreign currencies. Accordingly, we may experience a negative impact on our comprehensive income (loss) and equity with respect to our holdings solely as a result of foreign currency translation. Our primary exposure to foreign currency risk from a foreign currency translation perspective is to the euro, British pound and, to a lesser extent, other local currencies in Europe. We generally do not hedge against the risk that we may incur non-cash losses upon the translation of the financial statements of our non-U.S. dollar functional currency operating subsidiaries and affiliates into U.S. dollars.
Our business is limited by United States regulatory constraints which may adversely impact our operations.
Although most aspects of our business generally are not directly regulated by the FCC, there are certain FCC regulations that govern our business either directly or indirectly. See Item 1, "Business—Regulation" in this Annual Report. Furthermore, to the extent that regulations and laws, either presently in force or proposed, hinder or stimulate the growth of the cable television, satellite or other MVPDs, our business could be affected.
The United States Congress and the FCC currently have under consideration, and may in the future adopt, new laws, regulations and policies regarding a wide variety of matters that could, directly or indirectly, affect our operations.
The regulation of cable television services, satellite carriers, and other video programming distributors is subject to the political process and has been in constant flux over the past two decades. Further changes in the law and regulatory requirements, including material ones, may be proposed or adopted in the future. We cannot assure you that our business will not be adversely affected by future legislation, new regulation or deregulation.
Our businesses are subject to risks of adverse regulation by foreign governments.
Programming businesses are subject to the regulations of the countries in which they operate as well as international bodies, such as the European Union ("E.U."). These regulations may include restrictions on the types of advertisements that can be sold on our networks, programming content requirements, requirements to make programming available on non-discriminatory terms, local levies or taxes applied to our networks and local content quotas. Consequently, our businesses must adapt their ownership and organizational structures as well as their pricing and service offerings to satisfy the rules and regulations to which they are subject. A failure to comply with applicable rules and regulations could result in penalties, restrictions on our business or loss of required licenses or other adverse conditions.
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Existing or proposed legislation and regulations could also significantly affect our business. For example, the E.U. adopted GDPR, which expands the regulation of personal data processing throughout the E.U. and significantly increases penalties for non-compliance. Complying with these laws and regulations could be costly, require us to change our business practices, or limit or restrict aspects of our business in a manner adverse to our business operations. In particular, data privacy laws may require monitoring of, and changes to, our practices related to the collection, use, disclosure and storage of personal information. Many of these laws and regulations continue to evolve, and sometimes conflict among the countries in which we operate, and substantial uncertainty surrounds their scope and application. Our failure to comply with these law and regulations could result in exposure to enforcement actions by foreign governments, as well as significant negative publicity and reputational damage.
Adverse changes in rules and regulations could have a significant adverse impact on our profitability.
As a company that has operations in the United Kingdom, the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the E.U., commonly known as "Brexit," could have an adverse impact on our business, results of operations and financial position.
On December 31, 2020, the transition period for the U.K.’s withdrawal from the E.U. ended, and on January 1, 2021, the U.K. ceased to be an E.U. member state and E.U. law ceased to apply in the U.K. In connection with the U.K.’s withdrawal, the U.K. and E.U. finalized a trade and cooperation agreement, which governs certain aspects of the E.U.-U.K. relationship after the U.K.’s withdrawal from the E.U. There continues to be uncertainty with respect to the future economic relationship between the U.K. and the rest of the world (including the E.U.). Brexit has affected, and may continue to impact, the markets we serve, which could cause us to lose subscribers, distributors and employees, as well as have a detrimental impact on the U.K. television advertising market and our U.K. revenue from advertising sales. If the U.K. loses access to the single E.U. market and the global trade deals negotiated by the E.U., there could be a detrimental impact on our U.K. business. Such a decline could also make our doing business in Europe more difficult, which could delay and reduce the scope of our distribution and licensing agreements. Without access to the single E.U. market, it may be more challenging and costly to obtain intellectual property rights for our content within the U.K. or distribute our services in Europe. In addition, Brexit could lead to legal uncertainty and potentially divergent national laws and regulations as the U.K. determines which E.U. laws to replace or replicate. If there are changes to U.K. immigration policy as a result of Brexit, this could affect the ability of our U.K. business to recruit the employees it requires.
We face continually evolving cybersecurity risks, which could result in the disclosure, theft or destruction of confidential information, disruption of our programming, damage to our brands and reputation, legal exposure and financial losses.
We maintain information, including confidential and proprietary information regarding our content, distributors, advertisers, viewers and employees, in digital form as necessary to conduct our business. We also rely on third-party vendors to provide certain services in connection with the storage, processing and transmission of digital information. Data maintained in digital form is subject to the risk of cybersecurity attacks, tampering and theft. We develop and maintain systems to monitor and prevent this from occurring, but the development and maintenance of these systems is costly and requires ongoing monitoring and updating as technologies change and efforts to overcome security measures become more sophisticated. Despite our efforts, the risks of a data breach cannot be entirely eliminated and our third-party vendors' information technology and other systems that maintain and transmit consumer, distributor, advertiser, company, employee and other confidential information may be compromised by a malicious penetration of our network security, or that of a third party provider due to employee error, computer malware or ransomware, viruses, hacking and phishing attacks, or otherwise. Work-from-home arrangements, such as those implemented in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, may increase the risk of cyber incidents, including data breaches. Additionally, outside parties may attempt to fraudulently induce employees or users to disclose sensitive or confidential information in order to gain access to data. Because the techniques used to obtain unauthorized access, disable or degrade service, or sabotage systems change frequently and often are not recognized until launched against a target, we may be unable to anticipate these techniques or to implement adequate preventative measures. If our or our third-party providers' data systems are compromised, our ability to conduct our business may be impaired, we may lose profitable opportunities or the value of those opportunities may be diminished and, as described above, we may lose revenue as a result of unlicensed use of our intellectual property. Further, a penetration of our or our third-party providers' network security or other misappropriation or misuse of personal consumer or employee information could subject us to business, regulatory, litigation and reputation risk, which could have a negative effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
If our technology facilities fail or their operations are disrupted, or if we lose access to third party satellites, our performance could be hindered.
Our programming is transmitted using technology facilities at certain of our subsidiaries. These technology facilities are used for a variety of purposes, including signal processing, program editing, promotions, creation of programming segments to fill short gaps between featured programs, quality control, and live and recorded playback. These facilities are subject to interruption from fire, lightning, adverse weather conditions and other natural causes. Equipment failure, employee misconduct or outside interference could also disrupt the facilities' services. We maintain a full time disaster recovery site in Chandler, Arizona, which is capable of providing simultaneous playout of AMC and evergreen programming for SundanceTV, IFC and
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WE tv in the event of a disruption of operations at our main facility in Bethpage, NY. In the event of a catastrophic failure of the Bethpage facility, the disaster recovery site can be operational within one to two hours. Evergreen programming would be replaced with scheduled programming within 12-24 hours for SundanceTV, IFC and WE tv.
In addition, we rely on third-party satellites in order to transmit our programming signals to our distributors. As with all satellites, there is a risk that the satellites we use will be damaged as a result of natural or man-made causes, or will otherwise fail to operate properly. Although we maintain in-orbit protection providing us with back-up satellite transmission facilities should our primary satellites fail, there can be no assurance that such back-up transmission facilities will be effective or will not themselves fail. Further, there are a limited number of communications satellites available for the transmission of programming, and, in the event of a disruption, we may not be able to secure an alternate distribution source in a timely manner.
Any significant interruption at any of our technology facilities affecting the distribution of our programming, or any failure in satellite transmission of our programming signals, could have an adverse effect on our operating results and financial condition.
The loss of any of our key personnel and artistic talent could adversely affect our business.
We believe that our success depends to a significant extent upon the performance of our senior executives and other key employees and on our ability to identify, attract, hire train and retain such personnel. We generally do not maintain "key man" insurance, and there is no assurance of the continued services of our senior executives or other key employees. In addition, we depend on the availability of third-party production companies to create some of our original programming. For certain of our productions, through in-house and third party production service companies, we engage the services of writers, directors, actors and various crew members who are subject to certain specially negotiated collective bargaining agreements. Any labor disputes or a strike by one or more unions representing any of these parties who are essential to our original programming could have a material adverse effect on our original programming, disrupt our operations and reduce our revenues. The loss of any significant personnel or artistic talent, or our artistic talent losing their audience base, could also have a material adverse effect on our business.

Our inability to successfully make investments in, and/or acquire and integrate, other businesses, assets, products or technologies could harm our business, financial condition or operating results.
Our success may depend on opportunities to buy other businesses or technologies that could complement, enhance or expand our current business or products or that might otherwise offer us growth opportunities. We have acquired, and have made strategic investments in, a number of companies (including through joint ventures) in the past, and we expect to make additional acquisitions and strategic investments in the future. Such transactions may result in dilutive issuances of our equity securities, use of our cash resources, and incurrence of debt and amortization expenses related to intangible assets. Any acquisitions and strategic investments that we are able to identify and complete may be accompanied by a number of risks, including:
the difficulty of assimilating the operations and personnel of acquired companies into our operations;
the potential disruption of our ongoing business and distraction of management;
the incurrence of additional operating losses and operating expenses of the businesses we acquired or in which we invested;
the difficulty of integrating acquired technology and rights into our services and unanticipated expenses related to such integration;
the failure to successfully further develop an acquired business or technology and any resulting impairment of amounts currently capitalized as intangible assets;
the failure of strategic investments to perform as expected or to meet financial projections;
the potential for patent and trademark infringement and data privacy and security claims against the acquired companies, or companies in which we have invested;
litigation or other claims in connection with acquisitions, acquired companies, or companies in which we have invested;
the impairment or loss of relationships with customers and partners of the companies we acquired or in which we invested or with our customers and partners as a result of the integration of acquired operations;
the impairment of relationships with, or failure to retain, employees of acquired companies or our existing employees as a result of integration of new personnel;
the difficulty of integrating operations, systems, and controls as a result of cultural, regulatory, systems, and operational differences;
the performance of management of companies in which we invest but do not control;
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in the case of foreign acquisitions and investments, the impact of particular economic, tax, currency, political, legal and regulatory risks associated with specific countries; and
the impact of known potential liabilities or liabilities that may be unknown, including as a result of inadequate internal controls, associated with the companies we acquired or in which we invested.
Our failure to be successful in addressing these risks or other problems encountered in connection with our past or future acquisitions and strategic investments could cause us to fail to realize the anticipated benefits of such acquisitions or investments, incur unanticipated liabilities, and harm our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We may have exposure to additional tax liabilities.
We are subject to income taxes as well as non-income based taxes, such as payroll, sales, use, value-added, net worth, property and goods and services taxes, in both the United States and various foreign jurisdictions. Judgment is required in determining our worldwide provision for income taxes and other tax liabilities. In the ordinary course of our business, there are many transactions and calculations where the ultimate tax determination is uncertain. We are regularly under audit by tax authorities in both the United States and various foreign jurisdictions. Although we believe that our tax estimates are reasonable, (1) there is no assurance that the final determination of tax audits or tax disputes will not be different from what is reflected in our historical income tax provisions, expense amounts for non-income based taxes and accruals and (2) any material differences could have an adverse effect on our financial position and results of operations in the period or periods for which determination is made.
Although a portion of our revenue and operating income is generated outside the United States, we are subject to potential current U.S. income tax on this income due to our being a U.S. corporation, resulting in potentially higher effective tax rate for the Company. This includes (i) what is referred to as "Subpart F Income," which generally includes, but is not limited to, such items as interest, dividends, royalties, gains from the disposition of certain property, certain currency exchange gains in excess of currency exchange losses, and certain related party sales and services income and (ii) what is referred to as “global intangible low-taxed income,” which generally equals certain foreign earnings in excess of 10 percent of the foreign subsidiaries’ tangible business assets. While we may mitigate any potential negative impacts of the aforementioned regimes through claiming a foreign tax credit against our U.S. federal income taxes or potentially have foreign or U.S. taxes reduced under applicable income tax treaties, we are subject to various limitations on claiming foreign tax credits or we may lack treaty protections in certain jurisdictions that will potentially limit any reduction of the increased effective tax rate. A higher effective tax rate may also result to the extent that losses are incurred in non-U.S. subsidiaries that do not reduce our U.S. taxable income.
We are subject to changing tax laws, treaties and regulations in and between countries in which we operate, including treaties between the United States and other nations. A change in these tax laws, treaties or regulations, including those in and involving the United States, or in the interpretation thereof, could result in a materially higher or lower income or non-income tax expense. Also, various income tax proposals in the countries in which we operate, such as those relating to fundamental U.S. international tax reform and measures in response to the economic uncertainty in certain European jurisdictions in which we operate, could result in changes to the existing tax laws under which our taxes are calculated. We are unable to predict whether any of these or other proposals in the United States or foreign jurisdictions will ultimately be enacted. Any such changes could negatively impact our business.
A significant amount of our book value consists of intangible assets that may not generate cash in the event of a voluntary or involuntary sale.
At December 31, 2020, our consolidated financial statements included approximately $5.2 billion of consolidated total assets, of which approximately $1.1 billion were classified as intangible assets. Intangible assets primarily include affiliation agreements and affiliate relationships, advertiser relationships, trademarks and goodwill. While we believe that the carrying values of our intangible assets are recoverable, there is no assurance that we would receive any cash from the voluntary or involuntary sale of these intangible assets, particularly if we were not continuing as an operating business.
Risks Relating to Our Debt
Our substantial long-term debt and high leverage could adversely affect our business.
We have a significant amount of long-term debt. As of December 31, 2020, we had $2.9 billion principal amount of total long-term debt (excluding finance leases), $675.0 million of which is senior secured debt under our Credit Facility and $2.2 billion of which is senior unsecured debt.
Our ability to make payments on, or repay or refinance, our debt, and to fund planned distributions and capital expenditures, will depend largely upon our future operating performance. Our future performance, to a certain extent, is subject to general economic, financial, competitive, regulatory and other factors that are beyond our control. In addition, our ability to borrow funds in the future to make payments on our debt will depend on the satisfaction of the covenants in the Credit Facility
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and our other debt agreements, including the indentures governing our notes and other agreements we may enter into in the future.
Our substantial amount of debt could have important consequences. For example, it could:
increase our vulnerability to general adverse economic and industry conditions;
require us to dedicate a substantial portion of our cash flow from operations to make interest and principal payments on our debt, thereby limiting the availability of our cash flow to fund future programming investments, capital expenditures, working capital, business activities and other general corporate requirements;
limit our flexibility in planning for, or reacting to, changes in our business and the industry in which we operate;
place us at a competitive disadvantage compared with our competitors; and
limit our ability to borrow additional funds, even when necessary to maintain adequate liquidity.
In the long-term, we do not expect to generate sufficient cash from operations to repay at maturity our outstanding debt obligations. As a result, we will be dependent upon our ability to access the capital and credit markets. Failure to raise significant amounts of funding to repay these obligations at maturity could adversely affect our business. If we are unable to raise such amounts, we would need to take other actions including selling assets, seeking strategic investments from third parties or reducing other discretionary uses of cash. The Credit Facility and indentures governing our notes restrict, and market or business conditions may limit, our ability to do some of these things. Subsequent to December 31, 2020, our Credit Facility was refinanced and we issued new senior notes and redeemed certain of our existing senior notes. See Note 11, Long-Term Debt, to our consolidated financial statements for additional information.
A significant portion of our debt bears interest at variable rates. While we have entered into hedging agreements limiting our exposure to higher interest rates, such agreements do not offer complete protection from this risk.
The agreements governing our debt contain various covenants that impose restrictions on us that may affect our ability to operate our business.
The agreements governing the Credit Facility and the indentures governing our notes contain covenants that, among other things, limit our ability to:
borrow money or guarantee debt;
create liens;
pay dividends on or redeem or repurchase stock;
make specified types of investments;
enter into transactions with affiliates; and
sell assets or merge with other companies.
The Credit Facility requires us to comply with a Cash Flow Ratio and an Interest Coverage Ratio, each as defined in the Credit Facility. Compliance with these covenants may limit our ability to take actions that might be to our advantage or to the advantage of our stockholders.
Various risks, uncertainties and events beyond our control could affect our ability to comply with these covenants and maintain these financial ratios. Failure to comply with any of the covenants in our existing or future financing agreements could result in a default under those agreements and under other agreements containing cross-default provisions. A default would permit lenders to accelerate the maturity for the debt under these agreements and to foreclose upon any collateral securing the debt. Under these circumstances, we might not have sufficient funds or other resources to satisfy all of our obligations. In addition, the limitations imposed by financing agreements on our ability to incur additional debt and to take other actions might significantly impair our ability to obtain other financing.
Despite our current levels of debt, we may still be able to incur substantially more debt. This could further exacerbate the risks associated with our substantial debt.
We may be able to incur additional debt in the future. The terms of the Credit Facility and indentures governing our notes allow us to incur substantial amounts of additional debt, subject to certain limitations. In addition, as we have in the past, we may in the future refinance all or a portion of our debt, including borrowings under the Credit Facility, and obtain the ability to incur more debt as a result. If new debt is added to our current debt levels, the related risks we could face would be magnified.
A lowering or withdrawal of the ratings assigned to our debt securities by rating agencies may increase our future debt issuance costs and reduce our access to capital.
The debt ratings for our notes are below the "investment grade" category, which results in higher interest costs as well as a reduced pool of potential purchasers of our debt as some investors will not purchase debt securities that are not rated
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"investment grade". In addition, there can be no assurance that any rating assigned will remain for any given period of time or that a rating will not be lowered or withdrawn entirely by a rating agency, if in that rating agency's judgment, future circumstances, such as adverse changes to economic conditions that could impact an issuer's ability to meet its financial commitments, so warrant. A lowering or withdrawal of the ratings assigned to our debt securities may further increase our future debt issuance costs and reduce our access to capital.
Risks Relating to Our Controlled Ownership
We are controlled by the Dolan family and trusts for their benefit, which may create certain conflicts of interest. In addition, as a result of their control, the Dolan family has the ability to prevent or cause a change in control or approve, prevent or influence certain actions by the Company.
We have two classes of common stock:
Class A Common Stock, which is entitled to one vote per share and is entitled collectively to elect 25% of our Board of Directors.
Class B Common Stock, which is generally entitled to ten votes per share and is entitled collectively to elect the remaining 75% of our Board of Directors.
As of December 31, 2020, the Dolan family, including trusts for the benefit of members of the Dolan family (collectively "the Dolan Family Group"), own all of our Class B Common Stock, approximately 4% of our outstanding Class A Common Stock and approximately 80% of the total voting power of all our outstanding common stock. The members of the Dolan Family Group have executed a voting agreement (the "Stockholders Agreement") that has the effect of causing the voting power of the holders of our Class B Common Stock to be cast as provided therein with respect to all matters to be voted on by holders of Class B Common Stock. Under the Stockholders Agreement, the shares of Class B Common Stock owned by members of the Dolan Family Group are to be voted on all matters in accordance with the determination of the Dolan Family Committee, except that the decisions of the Dolan Family Committee are non-binding with respect to the Class B Common Stock owned by certain Dolan family trusts (the "Excluded Trusts") that collectively own 48% of the outstanding Class B Common Stock. The Dolan Family Committee consists of Charles F. Dolan and his six children, James L. Dolan, Thomas C. Dolan, Patrick F. Dolan, Kathleen M. Dolan, Marianne E. Dolan and Deborah A. Dolan-Sweeney (collectively, the "Dolan Siblings"). The Dolan Family Committee generally acts by vote of a majority of the Dolan Siblings, except that a vote on a going-private transaction must be approved by a two-thirds vote of the Dolan Siblings and a vote on a change-in-control transaction must be approved by not less than all but one of the Dolan Siblings. The Dolan Family Group is able to prevent a change in control of our Company and no person interested in acquiring us would be able to do so without obtaining the consent of the Dolan Family Group.
Shares of Class B Common Stock owned by Excluded Trusts are to be voted on all matters in accordance with the determination of the Excluded Trusts holding a majority of the Class B Common Stock held by all Excluded Trusts, except in the case of a vote on a going-private transaction or a change in control transaction, in which case a vote of trusts holding two-thirds of the Class B Common Stock owned by Excluded Trusts is required.
The Dolan Family Group by virtue of their stock ownership, have the power to elect all of our directors subject to election by holders of Class B Common Stock and are able collectively to control stockholder decisions on matters on which holders of all classes of our common stock vote together as a single class. These matters could include the amendment of some provisions of our certificate of incorporation and the approval of fundamental corporate transactions.
In addition, the affirmative vote or consent of the holders of at least 66 2/3% of the outstanding shares of the Class B Common Stock, voting separately as a class, is required to approve:
the authorization or issuance of any additional shares of Class B Common Stock, and
any amendment, alteration or repeal of any of the provisions of our certificate of incorporation that adversely affects the powers, preferences or rights of the Class B Common Stock.
As a result, the Dolan Family Group has the power to prevent such issuance or amendment.
We have adopted a written policy whereby an independent committee of our Board of Directors will review and approve or take such other action as it may deem appropriate with respect to certain transactions involving the Company and its subsidiaries, on the one hand, and certain related parties, including Charles F. Dolan and certain of his family members and related entities on the other hand. This policy does not address all possible conflicts which may arise, and there can be no assurance that this policy will be effective in dealing with conflict scenarios.
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We are a "controlled company" for the purposes of The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC ("NASDAQ"), which allows us not to comply with certain of the corporate governance rules of NASDAQ.
Members of the Dolan Family Group have entered into the Stockholders Agreement, which relates to, among other things, the voting and transfer of their shares of our Class B Common Stock. As a result, we are a "controlled company" under the corporate governance rules of NASDAQ. As a controlled company, we have the right to elect not to comply with the corporate governance rules of NASDAQ requiring: (i) a majority of independent directors on our Board of Directors, (ii) an independent compensation committee and (iii) an independent corporate governance and nominating committee. Our Board of Directors has elected for the Company to be treated as a "controlled company" under NASDAQ corporate governance rules and not to comply with the NASDAQ requirement for a majority independent board of directors and an independent corporate governance and nominating committee because of our status as a controlled company.
Future stock sales, including as a result of the exercise of registration rights by certain of our shareholders, could adversely affect the trading price of our Class A Common Stock.
Certain parties have registration rights covering a portion of our shares. We have entered into registration rights agreements with Charles F. Dolan, members of his family, certain Dolan family interests and the Dolan Family Foundation that provide them with "demand" and "piggyback" registration rights with respect to approximately 12.6 million shares of Class A Common Stock, including shares issuable upon conversion of shares of Class B Common Stock. Sales of a substantial number of shares of Class A Common Stock, including sales pursuant to these registration rights agreements, could adversely affect the market price of the Class A Common Stock and could impair our future ability to raise capital through an offering of our equity securities.
We share certain executives and directors with Madison Square Garden Sports Corp. ("MSGS"), Madison Square Garden Entertainment Corp. ("MSGE"), and MSG Networks Inc. ("MSG Networks"), which may give rise to conflicts.
One of our executives, Gregg G. Seibert, serves as a Vice Chairman of the Company and as a Vice Chairman of MSGS, MSGE, and MSG Networks (each, an "Other Entity" and, collectively the "Other Entities"). Each of the Other Entities and the Company are affiliates by virtue of being under common control of the Dolan family. As a result, he will not be devoting his full time and attention to the Company's affairs. Seven members of our Board of Directors are directors of MSGS and MSGE, and six members of our Board of Directors are directors of MSG Networks. These directors may have actual or apparent conflicts of interest with respect to matters involving or affecting each company. For example, the potential for a conflict of interest exists when we, on one hand, and an Other Entity, on the other hand, consider acquisitions and other corporate opportunities that may be suitable for us and for the Other Entity. Also, conflicts may arise if there are issues or disputes under the commercial arrangements that exist between the Other Entities and us. In addition, certain of our directors and officers own stock, restricted stock units and options to purchase stock in one or more of the Other Entities, as well as cash performance awards with any payout based on the performance of one or more of the Other Entities. These ownership interests could create actual, apparent or potential conflicts of interest when these individuals are faced with decisions that could have different implications for our Company and one or more of the Other Entities. See "Certain Relationships and Related Party Transactions—Certain Relationships and Potential Conflicts of Interest" in our proxy statement filed with the SEC on April 29, 2020 for a description of our related party transaction approval policy that we have adopted to help address such potential conflicts that may arise.
Our overlapping directors and executives with the Other Entities may result in the diversion of corporate opportunities to and other conflicts with the Other Entities and provisions in our governance documents may provide us no remedy in that circumstance.
Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation acknowledges that directors and officers of the Company may also be serving as directors, officers, employees, consultants or agents of MSGS, MSGE, and its subsidiaries and that we may engage in material business transactions with such entities. Our policy concerning certain matters relating to MSG Networks, including responsibilities of overlapping directors and officers (the "overlap policy" and together with the applicable provisions of the amended and restated certificate of incorporation, the "Overlap Provisions") acknowledges that directors and officers of the Company may also be serving as directors, officers, employees, consultants or agents of MSG Networks and its subsidiaries and that we may engage in material business transactions with such entity. The Company has renounced its rights to certain business opportunities and the Overlap Provisions provide that no director or officer of the Company who is also serving as a director, officer, employee, consultant or agent of an Other Entity or any subsidiary of an Other Entity will be liable to the Company or its stockholders for breach of any fiduciary duty that would otherwise exist by reason of the fact that such individual directs a corporate opportunity (other than certain limited types of opportunities set forth in our amended and restated certificate of incorporation) to the Other Entity or any of its subsidiaries, or does not refer or communicate information regarding such corporate opportunities to the Company. The Overlap Provisions also expressly validate certain contracts, agreements, assignments and transactions (and amendments, modifications or terminations thereof) between the Company and
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the Other Entities and their subsidiaries and, to the fullest extent permitted by law, provide that the actions of the overlapping directors or officers in connection therewith are not breaches of fiduciary duties owed to the Company, any of its subsidiaries or their respective stockholders.
Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments.
None.
Item 2. Properties.
We lease approximately 578,000 square feet of space in the U.S., including approximately 326,000 square feet of office space that we lease at 11 Penn Plaza, New York, NY 10001, under lease arrangements with remaining terms through 2027. We use this space as our corporate headquarters and as the principal business location of our Company. We also lease approximately 67,000 square-feet of space for our broadcasting and technology center in Bethpage, New York under a lease arrangement with a term through 2029, from which AMC Networks Broadcasting & Technology conducts its operations. In addition, we lease other properties in New York, California, Florida, Maryland and Illinois.
We lease approximately 198,000 square feet of space outside of the U.S., including in Spain, Hungary and the United Kingdom that support our international operations.
We believe our properties are adequate for our use.
Item 3. Legal Proceedings.
On December 17, 2013, Frank Darabont ("Darabont"), Ferenc, Inc., Darkwoods Productions, Inc., and Creative Artists Agency, LLC (together, the "2013 Plaintiffs"), filed a complaint in New York Supreme Court in connection with Darabont's rendering services as a writer, director and producer of the television series entitled The Walking Dead and the agreement between the parties related thereto. The Plaintiffs asserted claims for breach of contract, breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, for an accounting and for declaratory relief. On August 19, 2015, Plaintiffs filed their First Amended Complaint (the "Amended Complaint"), in which they retracted their claims for wrongful termination and failure to apply production tax credits in calculating Plaintiffs' contingent compensation. Plaintiffs also added a claim that Darabont is entitled to a larger share, on a percentage basis, of contingent compensation than he is currently being accorded. On September 26, 2016, Plaintiffs filed their note of issue and certificate of readiness for trial, which included a claim for damages of no less than $280 million. The parties each filed motions for summary judgment. Oral arguments of the summary judgment motions took place on September 15, 2017. On April 19, 2018, the Court granted the Company’s motion for leave to submit supplemental summary judgment briefing. A hearing on the supplemental summary judgment submissions was held on June 13, 2018. On December 10, 2018, the Court denied Plaintiffs' motion for partial summary judgment and granted in part Defendants' motion for summary judgment, dismissing four of Plaintiffs' causes of action. The Company believes that the remaining claims are without merit, denies the allegations and continues to defend the case vigorously. At this time, no determination can be made as to the ultimate outcome of this litigation or the potential liability, if any, on the part of the Company.
On January 18, 2018, the 2013 Plaintiffs filed a second action in New York Supreme Court in connection with Darabont’s services on The Walking Dead television series and agreements between the parties related thereto. The claims in the action allegedly arise from Plaintiffs' audit of their participation statements covering the accounting period from inception of The Walking Dead through September 30, 2014. Plaintiffs seek no less than $20 million in damages on claims for breach of contract, breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and declaratory relief. The Company filed an Answer to the Complaint on April 16, 2018. On August 30, 2018, Plaintiff's filed an Amended Complaint, and on September 19, 2018, the Company answered. The parties have agreed to consolidate this action for a joint trial with the action Plaintiffs filed in the New York Supreme Court on December 17, 2013. Following the conclusion of discovery, the Company filed a motion for summary judgment seeking the dismissal of the second action, which was denied on April 13, 2020. On August 24, 2020, the Company filed a motion for leave to re-argue the previously denied motion for summary judgment. On December 31, 2020, Justice Cohen granted the Company’s motion for reargument and issued a revised summary judgment decision that granted in part and denied in part the Company’s motion for summary judgment. Additionally, on July 8, 2020, the Company filed an appeal of the Supreme Court’s denial of its summary judgment motion to the New York Appellate Division, First Department. Oral argument on the appeal is scheduled for March 23, 2021. On February 16, 2021, Plaintiffs filed a motion for leave to reargue one aspect of the revised summary judgment decision that was issued on December 31, 2020.
Due to the continued impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on the New York State courts, the joint trial, originally scheduled to begin on June 1, 2020, has been further delayed and is currently scheduled to begin on April 26, 2021. The Company believes that the asserted claims are without merit, denies the allegations and will defend the case vigorously. At this time, no determination can be made as to the ultimate outcome of this litigation or the potential liability, if any, on the part of the Company.
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On August 14, 2017, Robert Kirkman, Robert Kirkman, LLC, Glen Mazzara, 44 Strong Productions, Inc., David Alpert, Circle of Confusion Productions, LLC, New Circle of Confusion Productions, Inc., Gale Anne Hurd, and Valhalla Entertainment, Inc. f/k/a Valhalla Motion Pictures, Inc. (together, the "California Plaintiffs") filed a complaint in California Superior Court in connection with California Plaintiffs’ rendering of services as writers and producers of the television series entitled The Walking Dead, as well as Fear the Walking Dead and/or Talking Dead, and the agreements between the parties related thereto (the "California Action"). The California Plaintiffs asserted that the Company has been improperly underpaying the California Plaintiffs under their contracts with the Company and they assert claims for breach of contract, breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, inducing breach of contract, and liability for violation of Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 17200. On August 15, 2017, two of the California Plaintiffs, Gale Anne Hurd and David Alpert (and their associated loan-out companies), along with Charles Eglee and his loan-out company, United Bongo Drum, Inc., filed a complaint in New York Supreme Court alleging nearly identical claims as the California Action (the "New York Action"). Hurd, Alpert, and Eglee filed the New York Action in connection with their contract claims involving The Walking Dead because their agreements contained exclusive New York jurisdiction provisions. On October 23, 2017, the parties stipulated to discontinuing the New York Action without prejudice and consolidating all of the claims in the California Action. The California Plaintiffs seek compensatory and punitive damages and restitution. The Company filed an Answer on April 30, 2018 and believes that the asserted claims are without merit and will vigorously defend against them. On August 8, 2019, the judge in the California Action ordered a trial to resolve certain issues of contract interpretation only. The trial commenced on February 10, 2020 and concluded on March 10, 2020 after eight days of trial. On July 22, 2020, the judge in the California Action issued a Statement of Decision finding in the Company's favor on all seven matters of contract interpretation before the court in this first phase trial. On October 30, 2020, the judge in the California Action set a tentative trial date of September 8, 2021 with regard to claims not addressed in the first phase trial. On January 20, 2021, the California Plaintiffs filed a second amended complaint, eliminating eight named defendants and the California Plaintiffs’ claims under Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 17200. On February 9, 2021, the Company filed a demurrer and motion to strike seeking to dismiss claims in the second amended complaint that are barred by the Statement of Decision of July 22, 2020 in the first phase trial. The court has scheduled a hearing regarding the Company’s demurrer and motion to strike for April 1, 2021. The parties have resumed discovery in preparation for the September 2021 trial. At this time, no determination can be made as to the ultimate outcome of this litigation or the potential liability, if any, on the part of the Company.
The Company is party to various lawsuits and claims in the ordinary course of business, including the matters described above. Although the outcome of these matters cannot be predicted with certainty and while the impact of these matters on the Company's results of operations in any particular subsequent reporting period could be material, management does not believe that the resolution of these matters will have a material adverse effect on the financial position of the Company or the ability of the Company to meet its financial obligations as they become due.
Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures.
Not applicable.
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Part II
Item 5. Market for Registrant's Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities.
Our Class A Common Stock is listed on NASDAQ under the symbol "AMCX." Our Class B Common Stock is not listed on any exchange. Our Class A Common Stock began trading on NASDAQ on July 1, 2011.
Performance Graph
The following graph compares the performance of the Company's Class A Common Stock with the performance of the S&P Mid-Cap 400 Index and a peer group (the "Peer Group Index") by measuring the changes in our Class A Common Stock prices from December 31, 2015 through December 31, 2020. Because no published index of comparable media companies currently reports values on a dividends-reinvested basis, the Company has created a Peer Group Index for purposes of this graph in accordance with the requirements of the SEC. The Peer Group Index is made up of companies that engage in cable television programming as a significant element of their business, although not all of the companies included in the Peer Group Index participate in all of the lines of business in which the Company is engaged, and some of the companies included in the Peer Group Index also engage in lines of business in which the Company does not participate. Additionally, the market capitalizations of many of the companies included in the Peer Group are quite different from that of the Company. The common stocks of the following companies have been included in the Peer Group Index: Discovery Inc., the Walt Disney Company, Fox Corporation (included from March 19, 2019, when trading began), Lions Gate Entertainment Corporation, and ViacomCBS Inc. The chart assumes $100 was invested on December 31, 2015 in each of: i) Company's Class A Common Stock, ii) the S&P Mid-Cap 400 Index, and iii) in this Peer Group weighted by market capitalization.

https://cdn.kscope.io/b43d465cefe705c196827b313d760492-amcx-20201231_g17.jpg

  
INDEXED RETURNS
Period Ended
Company Name / IndexBase Period 12/31/1512/31/1612/31/1712/31/1812/31/1912/31/20
AMC Networks Inc.10070.0972.4273.4952.8947.90
S&P MidCap 400 Index100120.74140.35124.80157.49179.00
Peer Group100104.56106.43105.39132.12154.97
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This performance graph shall not be deemed "filed" for purposes of Section 18 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the "Exchange Act") or incorporated by reference into any of our filings under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, or the Exchange Act, except as shall be expressly set forth by specific reference in such filing.
As of February 19, 2021 there were 600 holders of record of our Class A Common Stock and 33 holders of record of our Class B Common Stock.
Stock Repurchase Program
The Company's Board of Directors has authorized a program to repurchase up to $1.5 billion of the Company's outstanding shares of common stock (the "Stock Repurchase Program"). The authorization of up to $500 million was announced on March 7, 2016, an additional authorization of $500 million was announced on June 7, 2017, and an additional authorization of $500 million was announced on June 13, 2018. The Stock Repurchase Program has no pre-established closing date and may be suspended or discontinued at any time. For the year ended December 31, 2020, the Company repurchased 14.8 million shares of its Class A common stock at an average purchase price of $23.91 per share (inclusive of the results of the modified "Dutch auction" tender offer discussed below). As of December 31, 2020, the Company has $135.3 million available for repurchase under the Stock Repurchase Program.
On September 16, 2020, the Company commenced a modified "Dutch auction" tender offer (the "Tender Offer") to purchase up to $250 million in value of shares of its Class A Common Stock, plus up to an additional 2% of the outstanding shares of Class A Common Stock, at a price not greater than $26.50 nor less than $22.50 per share. The Tender Offer expired on October 14, 2020. On October 21, 2020, the Company accepted for purchase 10.8 million shares of its Class A Common Stock, at a price of $23.20 per share, for an aggregate cost of $250.6 million. The cost of these shares, and the fees relating to the Tender Offer, are classified in Treasury stock in the consolidated balance sheet.
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Item 6. Selected Financial Data.
The operating data for each of the three years ended December 31, 2020 and balance sheet data as of December 31, 2020 and 2019 included in the table below have been derived from the audited consolidated financial statements of the Company included in this Annual Report and should be read in conjunction with Item 7, "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations" and the accompanying consolidated financial statements and related notes. The operating data for the years ended December 31, 2017 and 2016 and balance sheet data as of December 31, 2018, 2017 and 2016 included in the table below have been derived from the audited consolidated financial statements of the Company, not included in this Annual Report.
 Years Ended December 31,
 
2020 (1) (2)
2019 (1) (2)
2018 (1) (2)
2017 (1) (2)
2016 (2)
 (In thousands, except per share amounts)
Operating Data:
Revenues, net$2,814,956 $3,060,321 $2,971,929 $2,805,691 $2,755,654 
Operating income442,644 625,277 726,909 722,359 657,556 
Net income including noncontrolling interests256,988 407,716 463,967 489,637 289,963 
Net income attributable to noncontrolling interests(17,009)(27,230)(17,780)(18,321)(19,453)
Net income attributable to AMC Networks' stockholders239,979 380,486 446,187 471,316 270,510 
Net income per share attributable to AMC Networks' stockholders:
Basic$4.70 $6.77 $7.68 $7.26 $3.77 
Diluted$4.64 $6.67 $7.57 $7.18 $3.74 
Balance Sheet Data, at period end:
Cash and cash equivalents$888,526 $816,170 $554,886 $558,783 $481,389 
Total assets5,246,338 5,596,686 5,278,563 5,032,985 4,480,595 
Long-term debt (including finance/capital leases)2,880,801 3,117,494 3,136,072 3,130,381 2,859,129 
Stockholders' equity (deficiency)$616,805 $665,781 $316,680 $134,944 $(30,082)
(1) The 2020, 2019 and 2018 results include impairment charges of $122.2 million, $106.6 million and $4.5 million, respectively (see Note 4 to the accompanying consolidated financial statements). The 2017 results include impairment charges of $28.1 million.
(2) The 2020, 2019 and 2018 results include restructuring and other related charges of $34.8 million, $40.9 million and $45.8 million, respectively (see Note 5 to the accompanying consolidated financial statements). The 2017 and 2016 results include restructuring and other related charges of $6.1 million and $29.5 million, respectively.

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Item 7. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.
Management's discussion and analysis of financial condition and results of operations, or MD&A, is a supplement to and should be read in conjunction with the accompanying consolidated financial statements and related notes. Our MD&A is provided to enhance the understanding of our financial condition, changes in financial condition and results of our operations and is organized as follows:
Business Overview. This section provides a general description of our business and our operating segments, as well as other matters that we believe are important in understanding our results of operations and financial condition and in anticipating future trends.
Consolidated Results of Operations. This section provides an analysis of our results of operations for the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019 and 2018. Our discussion is presented on both a consolidated and segment basis. Our two segments are: (i) National Networks and (ii) International and Other.
Liquidity and Capital Resources. This section provides a discussion of our financial condition as of December 31, 2020 as well as an analysis of our cash flows for the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019 and 2018. The discussion of our financial condition and liquidity includes summaries of (i) our primary sources of liquidity and (ii) our contractual obligations and off balance sheet arrangements that existed at December 31, 2020.
Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates. This section provides a discussion of our accounting policies considered to be important to an understanding of our financial condition and results of operations, and which require significant judgment and estimates on the part of management in their application.
Business Overview
We manage our business through the following two operating segments:
National Networks: Includes activities of our five national programming networks, AMC Studios operations and AMC Broadcasting & Technology. Our national programming networks are AMC, WE tv, BBC AMERICA, IFC, and SundanceTV. Our AMC Studios operation produces original programming for our programming networks and also licenses such programming worldwide. AMC Networks Broadcasting & Technology is our technical services business, which primarily services most of the national programming networks.
International and Other: Includes AMCNI, our international programming businesses consisting of a portfolio of channels around the world; AMC Networks Streaming Services consisting of our targeted subscription streaming services (Acorn TV, Shudder, Sundance Now, ALLBLK), AMC+ and other streaming initiatives; Levity, our production services and comedy venues business; and IFC Films, our film distribution business.

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Financial Results Overview
The tables presented below set forth our consolidated revenues, net, operating income (loss) and adjusted operating income ("AOI"), defined below, for the periods indicated.
(In thousands)Years Ended December 31,
202020192018
Revenues, net
National Networks$2,096,169 $2,369,044 $2,413,325 
International and Other746,527 734,143 598,306 
Inter-segment eliminations(27,740)(42,866)(39,702)
Consolidated revenues, net$2,814,956 $3,060,321 $2,971,929 
Operating income (loss)
National Networks$656,425 $804,422 $825,770 
International and Other(224,228)(170,039)(93,326)
Inter-segment eliminations10,447 (9,106)(5,535)
Consolidated operating income$442,644 $625,277 $726,909 
AOI
National Networks$760,053 $903,526 $925,279 
International and Other(3,889)50,193 19,303 
Inter-segment eliminations10,447 (9,729)(12,037)
Consolidated AOI$766,611 $943,990 $932,545 
We evaluate segment performance based on several factors, of which the primary financial measure is operating segment AOI. We define AOI, which is a financial measure that is not calculated in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles ("GAAP"), as operating income (loss) before depreciation and amortization, cloud computing amortization, share-based compensation expense or benefit, impairment charges (including gains or losses on sales or dispositions of businesses), restructuring and other related charges and including the Company’s proportionate share of adjusted operating income (loss) from majority-owned equity method investees. From time to time, we may exclude the impact of certain events, gains, losses or other charges (such as significant legal settlements) from AOI that affect our operating performance.
We believe that AOI is an appropriate measure for evaluating the operating performance on both an operating segment and consolidated basis. AOI and similar measures with similar titles are common performance measures used by investors, analysts and peers to compare performance in the industry.
Internally, we use revenues, net and AOI measures as the most important indicators of our business performance, and evaluate management's effectiveness with specific reference to these indicators. AOI should be viewed as a supplement to and not a substitute for operating income (loss), net income (loss), cash flows from operating activities and other measures of performance and/or liquidity presented in accordance with GAAP. Since AOI is not a measure of performance calculated in accordance with GAAP, this measure may not be comparable to similar measures with similar titles used by other companies.
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The following is a reconciliation of consolidated operating income to AOI for the periods indicated:
(In thousands)Years Ended December 31,
202020192018
Operating income$442,644 $625,277 $726,909 
Share-based compensation expense52,908 64,133 60,979 
Depreciation and amortization104,606 101,098 91,281 
Impairment charges122,227 106,603 4,486 
Restructuring and other related charges35,068 40,914 45,847 
Cloud computing amortization200 — — 
Majority-owned equity investees AOI8,958 5,965 3,043 
Adjusted operating income$766,611 $943,990 $932,545 

Items Impacting Comparability
Impact of COVID-19 on Our Business
In March 2020, the World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus ("COVID-19") a pandemic, and the President of the United States declared the COVID-19 outbreak a national emergency. The rapid spread of the pandemic and the continuously evolving responses to combat it have had a negative impact on the global economy.
The impact of COVID-19 and measures to prevent its spread have affected our businesses in a number of ways. Beginning in mid-March, we experienced adverse advertising sales impacts, suspended content production, which led to delays in the creation and availability of substantially all of our programming, and the temporary closure of our comedy venues. In the third quarter of 2020, the Company commenced production activities, however substantially all Company employees continue to work remotely, and the Company continues to restrict business travel. If significant portions of our workforce, including key personnel, are unable to work effectively because of illness, government actions or other restrictions in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic, the impact of the pandemic on our businesses could be exacerbated.
The Company has evaluated and continues to evaluate the potential impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on its consolidated financial statements, including the impairment of goodwill (see Note 9) and indefinite-lived intangible assets and the fair value and collectability of receivables. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a material impact on the Company's operations since mid-March 2020. The Company cannot reasonably predict the ultimate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the extent of any adverse impact on our business, results of operations and financial condition, which will depend on, among other things, the duration and spread of the pandemic, the impact of governmental regulations that have been, and may continue to be, imposed in response to the pandemic, the effectiveness of actions taken to contain or mitigate the outbreak, the availability, safety and efficacy of a vaccine, and global economic conditions. The Company does not expect the COVID-19 pandemic and its related economic impact to affect its liquidity position or its ongoing ability to meet the covenants in its debt instruments.
RLJE
In October 2018, we acquired a controlling interest in RLJE, a premium digital channel company that operates the subscription streaming services Acorn TV and UMC or Urban Movie Channel (rebranded to ALLBLK). The operating results of RLJE are included in our International and Other segment in the consolidated statement of income from the date of the acquisition.
Levity
In April 2018, we acquired a controlling interest in Levity, an entertainment company that owns and operates comedy venues as well as produces content for distribution. The operating results of Levity are included in our International and Other segment in the consolidated statement of income from the date of the acquisition.
National Networks
In our National Networks segment, we earn revenue principally from the distribution of our programming and the sale of advertising. Distribution revenue primarily includes subscription fees paid by distributors to carry our programming networks and content licensing revenue from the licensing of original programming for digital, foreign and home video distribution. Subscription fees paid by distributors represent the largest component of distribution revenue. Our subscription fee revenues are based on a per subscriber fee, and, to a lesser extent, fixed fees under multi-year contracts, commonly referred to as "affiliation agreements," which generally provide for annual rate increases. The specific subscription fee revenues we earn vary from
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period to period, distributor to distributor and also vary among our networks, but are generally based upon the number of each distributor's subscribers who receive our programming, referred to as viewing subscribers. Content licensing revenue from the licensing of original programming for digital and foreign distribution is recognized upon availability or distribution by the licensee.
Under affiliation agreements with our distributors, we have the right to sell a specified amount of national advertising time on our programming networks. Our advertising revenues are more variable than subscription fee revenues because the majority of our advertising is sold on a short-term basis, not under long-term contracts. Our arrangements with advertisers provide for a set number of advertising units to air over a specific period of time at a negotiated price per unit. Additionally, in these advertising sales arrangements, our programming networks generally guarantee specified viewer ratings for their programming. If these guaranteed viewer ratings are not met, we are generally required to provide additional advertising units to the advertiser at no charge. For these types of arrangements, a portion of the related revenue is deferred if the guaranteed ratings are not met and is subsequently recognized either when we provide the required additional advertising time or the guarantee obligation contractually expires. Most of our advertising revenues vary based upon the popularity of our programming as measured by Nielsen. Our national programming networks have advertisers representing companies in a broad range of sectors, including the automotive, restaurants/food, health, and telecommunications industries.
Changes in revenue are primarily derived from changes in the contractual subscription rates charged for our services; the number of subscribers; the prices and number of advertising spots on our networks; and the availability, amount and timing of licensing fees earned from the distribution of our original programming. Our revenues may increase over time through contractual rate increases stipulated in our affiliation agreements. In negotiating for additional subscribers or extended carriage, we have agreed, in some instances, to make upfront payments to a distributor which we record as deferred carriage fees and are amortized as a reduction to revenue over the period of the related affiliation agreement. We also may help fund the distributors' efforts to market our networks. We believe that these transactions generate a positive return on investment over the contract period. We seek to increase our advertising revenues by increasing the rates we charge for such advertising, which is directly related to the overall distribution of our programming, penetration of our services on various digital platforms such as Advertising Video-on-Demand ("AVOD") services and the popularity (including within desirable demographic groups) of our services as measured by Nielsen.
Our principal goal is to increase our revenues by increasing distribution and penetration of our services, and increasing our ratings. To do this, we must continue to contract for and produce high-quality, attractive programming. As competition for programming increases and alternative distribution technologies continue to emerge and develop in the industry, costs for content acquisition and original programming may increase. There is a concentration of subscribers in the hands of a few distributors, which could create disparate bargaining power between the largest distributors and us by giving those distributors greater leverage in negotiating the price and other terms of affiliation agreements. We also seek to increase our content licensing revenues by expanding the opportunities for licensing our programming through digital distribution platforms, foreign distribution and home video services. Content licensing revenues in each quarter may vary based on the timing of availability of our programming to distributors.
Programming expense, included in technical and operating expense, represents the largest expense of the National Networks segment and primarily consists of amortization and write-offs of programming rights, such as those for original programming, feature films and licensed series, as well as participation and residual costs. The other components of technical and operating expense primarily include distribution and production related costs and program operating costs including cost of delivery, such as origination, transmission, uplinking and encryption.
To an increasing extent, the success of our business depends on original programming, both scripted and unscripted, across all of our networks. In recent years, we have introduced a number of scripted original series. These series generally result in higher ratings for our networks. Among other things, higher audience ratings drive increased revenues through higher advertising revenues. The timing of exhibition and distribution of original programming varies from period to period, which results in greater variability in our revenues, earnings and cash flows from operating activities. We will continue to increase our investment in programming across all of our networks. There may be significant changes in the level of our technical and operating expenses due to the amortization of content acquisition and/or original programming costs and/or the impact of management's periodic assessment of programming usefulness. Such costs will also fluctuate with the level of revenues derived from owned original programming in each period as these costs are amortized based on the individual-film-forecast-computation method.
Most original series require us to make up-front investments, which are often significant amounts. Not all of our programming efforts are commercially successful, which could result in a write-off of program rights. If it is determined that programming rights have limited, or no, future programming usefulness based on actual demand or market conditions, a write-off of the unamortized cost is recorded in technical and operating expense. Program rights write-offs of $85.5 million, $37.9 million and $48.8 million were recorded for the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019 and 2018, respectively (see further discussion below).
39


See "Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates" for a discussion of the amortization and write-off of program rights.
International and Other
Our International and Other segment includes the operations of AMCNI, AMC Networks Streaming Services, IFC Films and Levity.
In our International and Other segment, we earn revenue principally from the international distribution of programming and, to a lesser extent, the sale of advertising from our AMCNI programming networks. We also earn revenue from; (i) production services from Levity, (ii) our subscription streaming services Acorn TV, Shudder, Sundance Now, ALLBLK (previously known as Urban Movie Channel), and AMC+ from our AMC Networks Streaming Services business, (iii) the distribution of content of IFC Films and RLJE, and (iv) Levity's operation of comedy venues (all of which are temporarily closed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic). For the year ended December 31, 2020, distribution revenues represented 90% of the revenues of the International and Other segment. Distribution revenue primarily includes subscription fees paid by distributors or consumers to carry our programming networks or subscription-based streaming services and production services revenue generated from Levity. Our subscription revenues are generally based on either a per-subscriber fee or a fixed contractual annual fee, under multi-year affiliation agreements, which may provide for annual rate increases, and a monthly fee paid by consumers for our subscription-based streaming services. Our production services revenues are based on master production agreements whereby a third-party engages us to produce content on its behalf. Production services revenues are recognized based on the percentage of cost incurred to total estimated cost of the contract. Distribution revenues are derived from the distribution of our programming networks primarily in Europe and to a lesser extent, Latin America as well as from our owned subscription streaming services available in the United States, Canada, Latin America, parts of Europe, India, Australia and New Zealand.
Programming expense, program operating costs and production costs incurred to produce content for third parties are included in technical and operating expense, and represent the largest expense of the International and Other segment. Programming expense primarily consists of amortization of acquired content, costs of dubbing and sub-titling of programs, production costs, participation and residual costs. Program operating costs include costs such as origination, transmission, uplinking and encryption of our linear AMCNI channels as well as content hosting and delivery costs at our various on-line content distribution initiatives. Not all of our programming efforts are commercially successful, which could result in a write-off of program rights. If it is determined that programming rights have limited, or no, future programming usefulness based on actual demand or market conditions, a write-off of the unamortized cost is recorded in technical and operating expense.
Similar to our National Networks businesses, the most significant business challenges we expect to encounter in our International and Other businesses include programming competition (from both foreign and domestic programmers), limited channel capacity on distributors' platforms, the number of subscribers on those platforms and economic pressures on subscription fees. Other significant business challenges unique to our international operations include increased programming costs for international rights and translation (i.e. dubbing and subtitling), a lack of availability of international rights for a portion of our domestic programming content, increased distribution costs for cable, satellite or fiber feeds, a limited physical presence in certain territories, and our exposure to foreign currency exchange rate risk. See also the risk factors described under Item 1A, "Risk Factors - We face risks from doing business internationally." in this Annual Report.
Corporate Expenses
We allocate corporate overhead within operating expenses to each segment based upon its proportionate estimated usage of services. The segment financial information set forth below, including the discussion related to individual line items, does not reflect inter-segment eliminations unless specifically indicated.
Impact of Economic Conditions
Our future performance is dependent, to a large extent, on general economic conditions including the impact of direct competition, our ability to manage our businesses effectively, and our relative strength and leverage in the marketplace, both with suppliers and customers.
Capital and credit market disruptions, as well as other events such as the COVID-19 pandemic, could cause economic downturns, which may lead to lower demand for our products, such as lower demand for television advertising and a decrease in the number of subscribers receiving our programming networks from our distributors. Events such as these may adversely impact our results of operations, cash flows and financial position.
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Consolidated Results of Operations
The amounts presented and discussed below represent 100% of each operating segment's revenues, net and expenses. Where we have management control of an entity, we consolidate 100% of such entity in our consolidated statements of operations notwithstanding that a third-party owns a significant interest in such entity. The noncontrolling owner's interest in the operating results of consolidated subsidiaries are reflected in net (income) loss attributable to noncontrolling interests in our consolidated statements of operations.
Year Ended December 31, 2020 Compared to Year Ended December 31, 2019
The following table sets forth our consolidated results of operations for the periods indicated.
 Years Ended December 31,  
 20202019  
(In thousands)Amount
% of
Revenues,
net
Amount
% of
Revenues,
net
$ change% change
Revenues, net$2,814,956 100.0 %$3,060,321 100.0 %$(245,365)(8.0)%
Operating expenses:
Technical and operating (excluding depreciation and amortization)
1,401,591 49.8 1,506,985 49.2 (105,394)(7.0)
Selling, general and administrative708,820 25.2 679,444 22.2 29,376 4.3 
Depreciation and amortization104,606 3.7 101,098 3.3 3,508 3.5 
Impairment charges122,227 4.3 106,603 3.5 15,624 14.7
Restructuring and other related charges35,068 1.2 40,914 1.3 (5,846)(14.3)
Total operating expenses2,372,312 84.3 2,435,044 79.6 (62,732)(2.6)
Operating income442,644 15.7 625,277 20.4 (182,633)(29.2)%
Other income (expense):
Interest expense, net(108,578)(3.9)(133,091)(4.3)24,513 (18.4)
Loss on extinguishment of debt(2,908)(0.1)— — (2,908)n/m
Miscellaneous, net71,221 2.5 (6,000)(0.2)77,221 n/m
Total other income (expense)(40,265)(1.4)(139,091)(4.5)98,826 (71.1)
Net income from operations before income taxes
402,379 14.3 486,186 15.9 (83,807)(17.2)
Income tax expense(145,391)(5.2)(78,470)(2.6)(66,921)85.3 
Net income including noncontrolling interests
256,988 9.1 %407,716 13.3 %(150,728)(37.0)
Net income attributable to noncontrolling interests
(17,009)(0.6)%(27,230)(0.9)%10,221 (37.5)
Net income attributable to AMC Networks' stockholders
$239,979 8.5 %$380,486 12.4 %$(140,507)(36.9)%

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National Networks Segment Results
The following table sets forth our National Networks segment results for the periods indicated.
 Years Ended December 31,  
 20202019  
(In thousands)Amount
% of
Revenues,
net
Amount
% of
Revenues,
net
$ change% change
Revenues, net$2,096,169 100.0 %$2,369,044 100.0 %$(272,875)(11.5)%
Operating expenses:
Technical and operating (excluding depreciation and amortization)
967,934 46.2 1,076,748 45.5 (108,814)(10.1)
Selling, general and administrative410,718 19.6 441,747 18.6 (31,029)(7.0)
Depreciation and amortization40,539 1.9 32,674 1.4 7,865 24.1 
Restructuring and other related charges20,553 1.0 13,453 0.6 7,100 52.8 
Operating income656,425 31.3 804,422 34.0 (147,997)(18.4)
Share-based compensation expense42,536 2.0 52,977 2.2 (10,441)(19.7)
Depreciation and amortization40,539 1.9 32,674 1.4 7,865 24.1 
Restructuring and other related charges20,553 1.0 13,453 0.6 7,100 52.8 
AOI$760,053 36.3 %$903,526 38.1 %$(143,473)(15.9)%
International and Other Segment Results
The following table sets forth our International and Other segment results for the periods indicated.
 Years Ended December 31,  
 20202019  
(In thousands)Amount
% of
Revenues,
net
Amount
% of
Revenues,
net
$ change% change
Revenues, net$746,527 100.0 %$734,143 100.0 %$12,384 1.7 %
Operating expenses:
Technical and operating (excluding depreciation and amortization)
470,940 63.1 463,267 63.1 7,673 1.7 
Selling, general and administrative299,006 40.1 237,804 32.4 61,202 25.7 
Depreciation and amortization64,067 8.6 68,424 9.3 (4,357)(6.4)
Impairment charges122,227 16.4 106,603 14.5 15,624 14.7 
Restructuring and other related charges14,515 1.9 28,084 3.8 (13,569)(48.3)
Operating loss(224,228)(30.0)(170,039)(23.2)(54,189)31.9 
Share-based compensation expense10,372 1.4 11,156 1.5 (784)(7.0)
Depreciation and amortization64,067 8.6 68,424 9.3 (4,357)(6.4)
Impairment charges122,227 16.4 106,603 14.5 15,624 14.7 
Restructuring and other related charges14,515 1.9 28,084 3.8 (13,569)(48.3)
Cloud computing amortization200 — — — 200 n/m
Majority owned equity investees AOI8,958 1.2 5,965 0.8 2,993 50.2 
AOI$(3,889)(0.5)%$50,193 6.8 %$(54,082)(107.7)%

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Revenues, net
Revenues, net decreased $245.4 million to $2.8 billion for 2020 as compared to 2019. The net change by segment was as follows:
 Years Ended December 31,  
(In thousands)2020
% of
total
2019
% of
total
$ change% change
National Networks$2,096,169 74.5 %$2,369,044 77.4 %$(272,875)(11.5)%
International and Other746,527 26.5 734,143 24.0 12,384 1.7 
Inter-segment eliminations(27,740)(1.0)(42,866)(1.4)15,126 (35.3)
Consolidated revenues, net$2,814,956 100.0 %$3,060,321 100.0 %$(245,365)(8.0)%
National Networks
The decrease in National Networks revenues, net was attributable to the following:
 Years Ended December 31,  
(In thousands)2020
% of
total
2019
% of
total
$ change% change
Advertising$802,332 38.3 %$904,253 38.2 %$(101,921)(11.3)%
Distribution and other1,293,837 61.7 1,464,791 61.8 (170,954)(11.7)
$2,096,169 100.0 %$2,369,044 100.0 %$(272,875)(11.5)%
Advertising revenues decreased $101.9 million, primarily attributable to lower ratings and a reduction in the number of episodes of our original programming primarily related to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Most of our advertising revenues vary based on the timing of our original programming series and the popularity of our programming as measured by Nielsen. Due to these factors, we expect advertising revenues to vary from quarter to quarter.
Distribution revenues decreased $171.0 million due to a decrease in content licensing revenues of $92.9 and a decrease in subscription revenues of $78.1 million, as compared to the prior comparable period. Content licensing revenues decreased due to a reduction in the number of original programs we distributed related to production delays. Subscription revenues decreased primarily due to lower subscribers. Subscription revenues may vary based on the impact of renewals of affiliation agreements and content licensing revenues vary based on the timing of availability of our programming to distributors. Because of these factors, we expect distribution revenues to vary from quarter to quarter.
The following table presents certain subscriber information at December 31, 2020 and December 31, 2019:
 
Estimated Domestic Subscribers (1)
 December 31,
2020
December 31,
2019
National Programming Networks:
AMC83,600 85,100 
WE tv77,600 78,200 
BBC AMERICA76,100 77,000 
IFC70,700 71,400 
SundanceTV66,100 66,800 
________________
(1)Estimated U.S. subscribers as measured by Nielsen.
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International and Other
The increase in International and Other revenues, net was attributable to the following:
 Years Ended December 31,  
(In thousands)2020% of
total
2019% of
total
$ change% change
Advertising$74,338 10.0 %$89,659 12.2 %$(15,321)(17.1)%
Distribution and other672,189 90.0 644,484 87.8 27,705 4.3 
$746,527 100.0 %$734,143 100.0 %$12,384 1.7 %
Advertising revenues decreased $14.9 million at AMCNI, excluding the impact of foreign currency fluctuations, primarily related to pricing and lower demand resulting from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Distribution revenues increased $81.4 million at AMC Networks Streaming Services due to an increase in subscribers. This increase was partially offset by a decrease of $47.7 million at Levity, due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on its operations, which resulted in the temporary closure of its comedy venues, as well as a decrease of $11.7 million at AMCNI, excluding the impact of foreign currency fluctuations.
Distribution revenues, included in the International and Other segment, include revenues related to AMC Networks Streaming Services of approximately $176.7 million and $95.3 million for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively.
Technical and operating expense (excluding depreciation and amortization)
The components of technical and operating expense primarily include the amortization and write-offs of program rights, such as those for original programming, feature films and licensed series, participation and residual costs, distribution and production related costs and program delivery costs, such as transmission, encryption, hosting, and formatting.
Technical and operating expense (excluding depreciation and amortization) decreased $105.4 million to $1.4 billion for 2020 as compared to 2019. The net change by segment was as follows:
 Years Ended December 31,  
(In thousands)20202019$ change% change
National Networks$967,934 $1,076,748 $(108,814)(10.1)%
International and Other470,940 463,267 7,673 1.7 
Inter-segment eliminations(37,283)(33,030)(4,253)12.9 
Total$1,401,591 $1,506,985 $(105,394)(7.0)%
Percentage of revenues, net49.8 %49.2 %
National Networks
The decrease in technical and operating expense of $108.8 million was due to a decrease in program amortization of $83.7 million primarily attributable to a decrease in the amount of original programming as compared to the prior comparable period, which was impacted by the production delays resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, other direct programming costs decreased $25.7 million. Program rights amortization expense includes write-offs of $85.5 million for the year ended December 31, 2020 as compared to program rights write-offs of $37.9 million for year ended December 31, 2019. Programming write-offs are based on management's periodic assessment of programming usefulness.
There may be significant changes in the level of our technical and operating expenses due to content acquisition and/or original programming costs and/or the impact of management's periodic assessment of programming usefulness. Such costs will also fluctuate with the level of revenues derived from owned original programming in each period as these costs are amortized based on the film-forecast-computation method. As additional competition for programming increases and alternate distribution technologies continue to develop in the industry, costs for content acquisition and original programming may increase.
International and Other
The increase in technical and operating expense of $7.7 million was due to an increase of $31.1 million at AMC Networks Streaming Services primarily related to program amortization and $7.0 million of program write-offs from our RLJ Films distribution business, which was partially offset by decreases of $21.9 million related to Levity and $9.7 million at AMCNI. The decrease at Levity is due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on its operations, which resulted in production stoppages and temporary closure of comedy venues.
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Selling, general and administrative expense
The components of selling, general and administrative expense primarily include sales, marketing and advertising expenses, administrative costs and costs of non-production facilities.
Selling, general and administrative expense increased $29.4 million to $708.8 million, for 2020 as compared to 2019. The net change by segment was as follows:
 Years Ended December 31,  
(In thousands)20202019$ change% change
National Networks$410,718 $441,747 $(31,029)(7.0)%
International and Other299,006 237,804 61,202 25.7 
Inter-segment eliminations(904)(107)(797)n/m
Total$708,820 $679,444 $29,376 4.3 %
Percentage of revenues, net25.2 %22.2 %
National Networks
The decrease in the National Networks segment selling, general and administrative expense was principally due to a decrease in advertising and marketing expenses of $13.5 million related to the mix of original programming, which was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, general and administrative costs were lower across substantially all expense categories.
There may be significant changes in the level of our selling, general and administrative expense from quarter to quarter and year to year due to the timing of promotion and marketing of original programming series.
International and Other
The increase in the International and Other segment selling, general and administrative expense primarily related to $90.6 million at AMC Networks Streaming Services primarily related to advertising and subscriber acquisition expenses, which was partially offset by decreases of $17.9 million at Levity primarily related to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and $4.7 million at AMCNI, excluding the impact of foreign currency fluctuations. Foreign currency translation had a favorable impact to the change in selling, general and administrative expense of $1.6 million.
Depreciation and amortization
Depreciation and amortization increased $3.5 million to $104.6 million for 2020 as compared to 2019. The net change by segment was as follows:
 Years Ended December 31,  
(In thousands)20202019$ change% change
National Networks$40,539 $32,674 $7,865 24.1 %
International and Other64,067 68,424 (4,357)(6.4)
$104,606 $101,098 $3,508 3.5 %
The increase in depreciation and amortization expense in the National Networks segment was primarily due to depreciation of equipment at our AMC Networks Broadcasting and Technology facilities. The decrease in depreciation and amortization expense in the International and Other segment was primarily due to the lower carrying values of long-lived assets resulting from the impairment charge recognized in June 2020.
Impairment charges
During 2020, as a result of the continuing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, we qualitatively assessed whether it was more likely than not that goodwill and long-lived assets were impaired. Based on our current projections and updated forecasts, we determined that sufficient indicators of potential impairment of long-lived assets existed and, in connection with the preparation of the Company's second quarter financial information, the Company performed a recoverability test of certain long-lived asset groups within the AMCNI reporting unit. This resulted in an impairment charge of $97.1 million primarily related to certain identifiable intangible assets, as well as property and equipment, and operating lease right-of-use assets. The Company then performed a goodwill impairment test and determined that the carrying value of the AMCNI reporting unit exceeded its fair value, resulting in an impairment charge of $25.1 million.
In December 2019, in connection with the preparation of our fourth quarter financial information, we performed our annual goodwill impairment test and concluded that the estimated fair value of our AMCNI reporting unit declined to less than its carrying amount. The decrease in the estimated fair value was in response to current and expected trends across the
45


International television broadcasting markets, as well as a decrease in the financial multiples used to estimate the fair value using the market approach. As a result, we recognized an impairment charge of $98.0 million in 2019, reflecting a partial write-down of the goodwill associated with the AMCNI reporting unit. Additionally, during 2019, in connection with the dispositions of certain businesses, AMCNI recognized impairment charges of $8.6 million.
Restructuring and other related charges
In November 2020, management commenced a restructuring plan (the “2020 Plan”) designed to streamline the Company’s operations through a reduction of its domestic workforce. The 2020 Plan is intended to improve the organizational design of the Company through the elimination of certain roles and centralization of certain functional areas of the Company. In connection with the 2020 Plan, the Company incurred severance costs of $21.2 million. Additionally during 2020, the Company incurred restructuring charges of $6.2 million at AMCNI related to costs associated with the termination of distribution in certain territories and restructuring charges of $7.7 million related to prior restructuring activities in domestic operations.
Restructuring and other related charges of $40.9 million for the year ended December 2019 primarily related to the management re-organization commenced in September 2019. In connection with this re-organization, a number of roles were eliminated to improve the effectiveness of management while reducing the cost structure of the Company. As a result, we incurred restructuring charges of $26.0 million. In addition, charges associated with the AMC Networks Streaming Services re-organization consisted of severance and other personnel related costs of $1.9 million and programming write-offs of $13.0 million related to a change in programming strategy.
Operating Income (Loss)
 Years Ended December 31,  
(In thousands)20202019$ change% change
National Networks$656,425 $804,422 $(147,997)(18.4)%
International and Other(224,228)(170,039)(54,189)31.9 
Inter-segment Eliminations10,447 (9,106)19,553 n/m
$442,644 $625,277 $(182,633)(29.2)%
The decrease in operating income at the National Networks segment was primarily attributable to a decrease in revenues of $272.9 million, an increase in restructuring charges of $7.1 million and an increase in depreciation and amortization of $7.9 million, partially offset by a decrease in technical and operating expense of $108.8 million and a decrease in selling, general and administrative expense of $31.0 million.
The increase in operating loss at the International and Other segment, excluding the impact of foreign currency fluctuations, was primarily attributable to an increase in technical and operating expense of $8.5 million, an increase in selling, general and administrative expense of $62.6 million and an increase in impairment charges of $10.7 million, partially offset by an increase in revenues of $12.9 million, a decrease in restructuring charges of $13.3 million and a decrease in depreciation and amortization of $4.3 million. Foreign currency translation had an unfavorable impact to the change in operating loss of $2.8 million.
AOI
The following is a reconciliation of our consolidated operating income to consolidated AOI:
 Years Ended December 31,  
(In thousands)20202019$ change% change
Operating income$442,644 $625,277 $(182,633)(29.2)%
Share-based compensation expense52,908 64,133 (11,225)(17.5)
Depreciation and amortization104,606 101,098 3,508 3.5 
Impairment charges122,227 106,603 15,624 14.7 
Restructuring and other related charges35,068 40,914 (5,846)(14.3)
Cloud computing amortization200 — 200 n/m
Majority owned equity investees AOI8,958 5,965 2,993 50.2 
Adjusted operating income$766,611 $943,990 $(177,379)(18.8)%
46



AOI decreased $177.4 million to $766.6 million for 2020 as compared to 2019. The net change by segment was as follows:
 Years Ended December 31,  
(In thousands)20202019$ change% change
National Networks$760,053 $903,526 $(143,473)(15.9)%
International and Other(3,889)50,193 (54,082)(107.7)
Inter-segment eliminations10,447 (9,729)20,176 n/m
AOI$766,611 $943,990 $(177,379)(18.8)%
The decrease in AOI at the National Networks segment is principally due to the decrease in operating income. The decrease in AOI at the International and Other segment is principally due to the increase in operating loss.
Interest expense, net
The decrease in interest expense, net of $24.5 million is primarily due to lower interest rates on our credit facility and lower average outstanding long-term debt balances.
Loss on extinguishment of debt
In March 2020, we redeemed $200 million principal amount of the then-outstanding $600 million principal amount of our 4.75% Notes due 2022. The loss on extinguishment of debt for the year ended December 31, 2020 of $2.9 million represents the redemption premium, the write-off of a portion of the unamortized discount and deferred financing costs.
Miscellaneous, net
The increase in miscellaneous, net of $77.2 million in 2020 as compared to 2019 was primarily related to an increase in net realized and unrealized gains of $92.0 million from certain marketable equity securities, partially offset by an unfavorable variance of $15.0 million in the foreign currency remeasurement of monetary assets and liabilities (principally intercompany loans) that are denominated in currencies other than the underlying functional currency of the applicable entity.
Income tax expense
Income tax expense was $145.4 million for the year ended December 31, 2020, representing an effective tax rate of 36%. The effective tax rate differs from the federal statutory rate of 21% due primarily to tax expense of $41.7 million for an increase in valuation allowances for foreign deferred tax assets; state and local income tax expense of $14.7 million, tax expense of $8.4 million for excess tax deficiencies related to share-based compensation and tax expense from foreign operation