Sunday’s debut of The Walking Dead‘s Season 7 didn’t just appeal to zombie fans. The near-record high ratings for the show — which you can read about here — helped to lift AMC Networks’ stock price about 6% in early trading this morning, following a 4% jump yesterday.
With 17 million live and same day viewers on Sunday, the draw was “strong as we viewed the bogey for the premiere as 14 million,” Stifel Research’s Benjamin Mogil says.
He’s waiting to see what AMC reports from its live-plus-three-day rating which he considers “the more relevant data point.”
Wall Street has been wary about AMC, fearing that it depends too heavily on Walking Dead, a series that some believed was destined to decline. JBL Advisors’ Jeffrey Logsdon observed early this month there was a wide belief that “earnings power for The Walking Dead will deplete over the next two or three years at a faster pace than new series can pick up the slack.”
Indeed, Guggenheim Securities’ Michael Morris recently dropped his revenue outlook for AMC predicting a 15% drop in the Walking Dead‘s “monetizable ratings.” He figures that the series accounts for about 23% of AMC’s operating income before depreciation and amortization.
Today he says that his ad revenues estimates should now be seen as “likely conservative.”
In addition to the “positive” ratings for Walking Dead, he notes that The Talking Dead “had a very strong evening as well up 34% in total viewers and 26% in the 18-49 demo.”