We’ll see whether the Street is more impressed by AMC’s better-than-expected profits, or disappointed in the worse-than-expected revenues. The cable network company reports 3Q net earnings of $40M, up 58.4%, on revenues of $283.9M, up 4.6%. Analysts thought they’d see revenues of $292.1M. But the earnings, at 55 cents a share, were far ahead of the predicted 44 cents. The company says that domestic ad sales “were essentially flat primarily due to the absence of Mad Men” which ran in last year’s 3Q.
The 3.9% revenue gain for the unit, to $258.3M, was driven by a 6.9% increase in affiliate fees mostly from rate increases. The flip side is that AMC had lower marketing and corporate expenses, boosting the unit’s operating income 24.1% to $99M. AMC had just the opposite situation in its interational operation. Revenues were up 13.8% to $30.7M, helped by higher theatrical revenues from IFC FIlms. Yet the operating loss increased 41.6% to $4M due to higher programming and marketing costs. “The core of our growth strategy continues to be our investment in original programming,” CEO Josh Sapan says. “The Walking Dead season two premiere, which was the highest rated dramatic show ever in basic cable history against key adult demos, and our performance in the 2011-2012 upfront, underscores the strength of this strategy.”