AMC Networks had already warned that “unfavorable comps” would hurt U.S. networks ad sales in Q1. So the 6.2% drop it reported this morning may already be baked into the stock, enabling the Street to focus on the other elements of a report that mostly exceeded analyst expectations.
AMC generated net income of $136.2 million, up 20.1% vs the period last year, on revenues of $720.2 million, up 1.9%. That was just a hair shy of the $721 million analysts anticipated. Adjusted earnings at $2.10 a share beat forecasts for $1.99.
“AMC Networks is off to a solid start in 2017 with revenue growth and significant free cash flow generation in the first quarter that sets the stage for continued progress for the remainder of the year,” CEO Josh Sapan says. The company’s “disciplined approach to investing in high-quality content is building our brands and positioning us well with advertisers and both traditional and new distribution platforms. Looking ahead, we remain focused on costs coupled with smart content investments that will create value for our shareholders over the near and long-term.”
At the main National Networks unit, operating income fell 6.4% to $249.6 million while revenues improved 2.8% to $615.1 million.
Distribution fees rose 9.8%, mostly due to an increase licensing fees. But that was somewhat offset by the drop in ad sales, which AMC says was “principally related to lower delivery as well as the timing of the airing of original programming partially offset by higher pricing.”
The International and Other operation, which includes IFC Films, saw its operating loss increase 127.8% to $19.2 million while revenues dropped 2.1% to $106.8 million. The company attributes that mostly to a drop at its Amsterdam-based Digital Media Center logistics facility.