Fear The Walking Dead? That was a concern on Wall Street as the hit show’s ratings declined. But it wasn’t enough to seriously hurt AMC Networks, which credits the series along with Better Call Saul for helping to deliver Q1 earnings that exceeded analysts’ expectations.
AMC shares are up 6.8% in pre-market trading.
With a $48 million debt refinancing charge, the company reported net income of $113.4 million, down 6.2% vs early 2015, on revenues of $706.6 million, up 5.7%. The top line was well ahead of the $695.5 million that analysts expected.
If you adjust for the debt financing, then earnings came in at $1.99 a share, beating the $1.79 the Street anticipated.
“AMC Networks is continuing to build on the momentum and strength of 2015 with a strong start to 2016,” CEO Josh Sapan says. “With the refinancing of our debt on favorable terms and the authorization of a $500 million share repurchase program, our Company remains focused on creating and delivering value for shareholders.”
The main National Networks operation saw a 10.9% lift in adjusted operating cash flow to nearly $281 million on revenues of $598.6 million, up 6.4%. AMC says that’s mostly due to increases in digital distribution and licensing.
Ad sales rose 1.3%, lower than most of its peers have been reporting. The company says that’s due to the “timing of the airing of original programming.” This year it had seven new episodes of Walking Dead, Talking Dead, and Saul in the quarter vs last year which had eight for the two Dead shows and nine for Saul.
At International and Other — which includes IFC Films — cash flow fell 10.1% to $5.1 million while revenue increased 2.5% to $109.0 million. The company says that the pay TV networks’ revenues increased while IFC Films declined.