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AMC Networks amps up RLJ funding by $10m

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Josh-Sapan-featuredAMC Networks will invest a further US$10 million into streaming service RLJ Entertainment following an initial spend of US$65 million in 2016.

RLJ owns SVOD service Acorn TV and digital service UMC (Urban Movie Channel), and receives the money from AMC in the form of loans.

The latest funding round was handed to RLJ “to accelerate its content investments and other strategic initiatives” for Acorn TV and UMC.

Miguel Penella, chief executive officer at RLJ, said: “We will use these additional resources to intensify our planned investments in original, exclusive and compelling content to expand Acorn TV and UMC programming, in marketing to support awareness and subscription, and in broadening our digital channels’ domestic and international distribution.”

RLJ has been getting into original content to bolster its content offer. Last year, it replaced US premium cable channel Starz as a coproducer on BBC period drama Close to the Enemy.

Robert L. Johnson, chairman of RLJ, said: “AMC Networks has proven a stellar partner and collaborator in RLJ Entertainment’s drive to more firmly establish Acorn TV and UMC as must-have destinations and impactful brands, and we thank AMC Networks president and CEO Josh Sapan [pictured] and AMC Networks for their increased support.

“I believe in RLJE’s ability and opportunity to accelerate digital channel market penetration and steepen our overall growth trajectory, and I am demonstrating my support by participating through pure common equity.”

AMC Networks initially invested US$65 million in RLJ in October 2016. It is also a part owner of another US-based SVOD service, BritBox, along with British broadcasters the BBC and ITV.

RLJE International was renamed Acorn Media International in 2014.