It’s getting harder to sort through AMC Networks’ numbers following its acquisition of Chellomedia and its BBC America joint venture. But all looks well based on its just released report for Q1 — and shares are up 6.5% in pre-market trading, which suggests the stock, already up nearly 20% in 2015, will hit a new high.
Net income at $120.9 million was up 69.4% from the period last year on revenues of $668.7 million, up 27.5%. Analysts expected revenues of $655.7 million. Earnings at $1.66 a share topped forecasts for $1.48.
“AMC Networks is off to a strong start in 2015, with returns on our content investments generating significant growth in our revenues, [adjusted operating cash flow] and operating income,” CEO Josh Sapan says. In addition to the contributions from The Walking Dead, Better Call Saul “was the most watched new series on cable in key advertiser demos” this season — and international operations are growing. As a result: “AMC Networks continues to operate from a position of strength, with high quality programming, clearly defined brands and strong audience support that drives financial performance and our ability to create value for shareholders.”
Revenues at the main National Networks business – which includes AMC, WE tv, BBC America, IFC, and Sundance TV — improved 25.4% to $562.8 million, while cash flow was up 42.5% to $253.3 million. With the addition of BBCA, ad sales were up 25.3% to $260 million. Payments from cable and satellite companies were up 25.6% to $302 million.
Some analysts may be a little disappointed with cash flow at the International and Other unit, which includes IFC Films — despite its growth. Including the Chellomedia overseas cable channels, revenues were up 38.9% to $106.4 million while cash flow at $5.7 million contrasts with last year’s $11 million loss. But last year’s numbers included $14 million in acquisition related costs, and just two months of results from Chellomedia (acquired on January 31, 2014) vs three months this year.