AMC Networks on Friday posted strong fourth-quarter results, with total revenue rising 20% over the prior-year quarter to $964.5 million, while earnings per share jumped almost fivefold to $2.52.
Wall Street analysts had expected revenue of $947.8 million and EPS of $1.20.
Advertising revenue in the U.S. fell 12% to $206 million, with the company blaming the slide on lower linear ratings, softness in the broader ad market and fewer original programming episodes during the quarter.
Content licensing revenues climbed 18% to $492 million and subscription revenue grew 6% due to higher streaming revenue, as streaming subscriber growth made up for declines in the linear subscriber base. Streaming revenue shot up 35% to $502 million, with subscriber levels reaching 11.8 million. (The company has issued a target of 20 million-25 million by 2025.)
Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire was the marquee premiere during the quarter, garnering stellar linear ratings and becoming the No. 1 new series debut in the history of AMC+. The streaming outlet also saw its highest single day of viewing when the final season of The Walking Dead arrived last November. The Rice universe extended into the current quarter with the January premiere of Anne Rice’s Mayfair Witches.
Affiliate revenue sagged 6% due to basic subscriber declines, though the drop was partly offset by contractual rate increases.
The company has been on quite a ride over the past few months. Kristin Dolan, the wife of owner James Dolan and a member of the family controlling the shares of AMC Networks, was installed this week as CEO. Beginning February 27, she will succeed Christina Spade, who lasted just three months in the top job after being elevated from CFO last year. Spade’s brief run followed the interim stint of Matt Blank, former head of Showtime, who took over for Josh Sapan after his 26-year tenure came to a close in 2021.
AMC Networks, which has reportedly rebuffed takeover interest from media peers and private equity firms as its market value dipped below $1 billion, has announced the layoffs of 20% of its workforce. Like other cable programmers, it is contending with the impact of cord-cutting and trying to navigate the new economic landscape of streaming.
Executives will address the quarterly results during a conference call later this morning with Wall Street analysts.
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