CMO Today: AMC Launches Ad-Free Service; Disney’s Upfront; Alibaba’s Marketing Push

CMO Today: AMC Launches Ad-Free Service; Disney’s Upfront; Alibaba’s Marketing Push 749 499 C-Suite Network
Jon Hamm as Don Draper in a scene from the final episode of AMC's
Jon Hamm as Don Draper in a scene from the final episode of AMC’s “Mad Men.”

Good morning. As we head into the holiday weekend, how about celebrating the only way I know how: sitting back, putting my feet up and watching some ads. Budweiser has a Fourth of July spot starring actor Adam Driver, who surprises a military family. Meanwhile, Ancestry.com has recreated John Trumbull’s “Declaration of Independence” painting. No newsletter on Monday and Tuesday, folks. See you on July 5.

AMC is launching a commercial-free service called AMC Premiere that will cost $4.99 a month, The Wall Street Journal’s Joe Flint reports. The new service, which will also include some exclusive content and movies from the network’s library, will be an add-on for Comcast cable subscribers, and they won’t be able to get any sort of refund for the AMC standard channel. AMC’s logic is that some customers will do anything they can to avoid ads and $4.99 a month is cheaper than downloading individual shows. Still, given all the other subscriptions consumers have to handle to get access to their content at the moment, five bucks seems steep for just one channel. I can imagine churn will be high when subscribers’ favorite series come to a close.

Disney is so pleased about the way its upfront negotiations played out, it’s shouting about it from the rooftops, Variety reports. Disney said the volume of upfront ad commitments was up by a “high single digit” percentage across broadcast, cable and kids TV. Variety estimates that ABC could have shored up anywhere between $1.84 billion and $2.13 billion in commitments for its prime-time schedule. Disney said it pushed up its CPM (the cost to reach 1,000 people) by “low double digit” percentages for late-night and kids-TV. It’s extremely rare for a TV company to release a public statement about its upfront achievements. As Variety’s Brian Steinberg tweeted: “The last time a company made a public statement about TV upfront results was June 2005 — when ABC made a press statement and filed it w/…