| NEW YORK, April 26
NEW YORK, April 26 Charter Communications Inc
will develop and produce original programming with AMC
Networks Inc, which is known for the show "The Walking
Dead," to differentiate its content offerings, the cable company
said on Wednesday.
The programming will be available exclusively to Charter's
Spectrum subscribers initially, and AMC will get subsequent
rights, the companies said. They are discussing the kind of
content they will produce, and they expect it to air on the
Spectrum platform beginning in 2018.
The announcement shows how pay-TV providers are seeing value
in partnering with or buying content companies, which are having
an increasingly difficult time as standalone entities.
AT&T Inc, which became the largest U.S. pay-TV
operator after buying DirecTV in 2015, is acquiring Time Warner
Inc in an $85.4 billion deal that would give it control
of cable channels like HBO and CNN and help the wireless carrier
diversify its business. It has said the deal will close by the
end of the year.
In November, John Malone, whose Liberty Broadband Corp
is Charter's largest stakeholder, said at an investor
meeting: "I think Charter should, at the back of its mind, be
thinking about what kind of content, content investment, content
involvement would enhance their business but also would enhance
the value of the content."
Tom Montemagno, Charter's head of programming acquisition,
said in a statement on Wednesday that the AMC partnership would
help "further differentiate our customer experience and the
value we provide in a competitive marketplace."
The content partnership is separate from a free online video
streaming service that Reuters reported AMC was planning to
launch for millennial cable subscribers.
Charter and AMC shares were up roughly 1 percent in midday
trading on Wednesday.
(Reporting by Anjali Athavaley; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)