Comcast, AMC launch ad-free upgrade on Xfinity for $5 a month

With consumers turned off by the barrage of cable-TV advertising, Comcast Corp. and AMC will launch an ad-free on-demand service for AMC original shows such as “The Walking Dead” and “Better Call Saul.”

The “upgrade option” called AMC Premiere — available in coming months — will cost $4.99 a month, in addition to the regular monthly cable bill, the companies said on Thursday.

Comcast spokeswoman Lisa Scalzo said AMC is the first cable network to offer the on-demand option. But the cable giant is talking with other cable networks for similar exclusive and ad-free offerings for its 22 million cable-TV customers.

At the same time, some entertainment executives have expressed concern about the “advertising load” on television that could be turning off some consumers. Many AMC fans purchase ad-free episodes or entire ad-free seasons.

“With AMC’s engagement at an all-time high, developing more options for viewers to connect with our content is a priority,” Charlie Collier, president of AMC, SundanceTV and AMC Studios, said in a statement. “Tens of millions of existing viewers watch our shows through the cable ecosystem, so partnering with Comcast gives us a great opportunity to launch this new idea at scale.”

Comcast and AMC will share revenue from the subscription fees for AMC Premiere, according to published reports.