A lot of analysts will be surprised by the strength of AMC Networks’ Q3 numbers, which now include BBC America. But most will probably base their judgments of the company on the prospects for its biggest money maker: The Walking Dead.
In Q3 the cable networks company saw net income of $72.8 million, up 36.9% vs the period last year, on revenues of $632.2 million, up 21.7%. The top line was well ahead of the $632.2 million consensus estimate among analysts. Earnings at 99 cents a share also handily beat expectations for 85 cents.
CEO Josh Sapan credits AMC’s Fear The Walking Dead and BBC America’s Doctor Who for leading the charge. “We continue to invest in our international business, growing our portfolio of strong local brands and launching the AMC brand into new markets,” he adds. “We are confident our approach to creating great content and building networks with distinct brands that resonate with viewers will continue to drive our performance over the near- and long-term and deliver value for our shareholders.”
The National Networks unit had the biggest gains with results from BBC America — part of a joint venture AMC it forged with the BBC in October 2014 — included in the group with AMC, WEtv, IFC, and Sundance Channel. Revenues increased 31.3% to $521.6 million with cash flow up 45.1% to $186.6 million. Ad sales increased 52.3% to $210 million while distribution revenues were up 20.1% to $311 million.
AMC’s release says it took a $12 million write-off of programming assets, but doesn’t say which show or shows were included.
The numbers were much weaker for the International and Other operation, which includes overseas channels, IFC Films, and digital initiatives. Revenues fell 7% to $114.1 million with cash flow down 47.6% to $6.7 million. Like many media companies, AMC attributes much of the decline to the strong dollar. IFC Films also had nothing that could match the success last year of Boyhood.