AMC Networks delivered a mixed report this morning on its Q2 financial performance — lighter than expected on the top line, but better on the bottom — that shouldn’t affect investors’ thinking about their main question for the company: When’s it likely to be sold?
The home of The Walking Dead reported net income of $102.6 million, up 32.9% vs the period last year, on revenues of $710.5 million, up 3.8%. Analysts expected $714.9 million from revenues. Earnings at $1.54 a share beat expectations for $1.41.
Just as important: domestic ad sales were up 2.6%, with higher pricing offsetting a decline in ratings. Some investors were concerned about this number following softer than expected numbers for Fear The Walking Dead and Preacher.
Distribution revenues at the domestic networks improved 7.8%.
AMC shares are up 1.5% in pre-market trading.
“Our financial and operating performance in the second quarter and for the year, thus far, has been strong and we remain on track to deliver on our full-year total company outlook,” CEO Josh Sapan says. “The success of our long-term focus on investing in marquee content and in distinctive, vibrant brands that attract passionate and engaged fans is reinforced by our wide distribution on new virtual MVPDs, including most recently YouTube TV; being home to four of the top five dramas on basic cable; and with Emmy nominations that span our networks and genres, including nominations for AMC’s Better Call Saul, IFC’s Documentary Now! and BBC America’s Planet Earth II.”
At the National Networks, the boosts in ad and distribution helped to lift the unit’s revenues 5.6% to $604.9 million, with operating income up 11.9% to $211.6 million.
The distribution increase was “primarily” the result of new licensing agreements, along with an increase in affiliate fees.
Although programming costs rose, they were “partially offset” by a decrease in marketing.
The story was far less upbeat at the International and Other operation — which includes IFC Films. Revenues fell 6.3% to $110.8 million, with an operating loss rising to $31.2 million from $7.8 million.
The company says sales fell for both its overseas networks and IFC Films. Expenses were flat, with rising investments in digital initiatives offsetting decrease in network costs.
AMC also took a $17 million charge on its Amsterdam-based media logistic unit, AMC Networks International-Digital Media Center. The company agreed last month to sell it to TVT Ltd., which will continue to provide services to AMC.