AMC Networks joined the ranks of media companies showing that TV advertising has mounted a significant recovery from the devastation of Covid-19 a year ago.
The company reported total revenue of $771.4 million in the second quarter ended June 30, up 19% from the same period of 2020. Adjusted, diluted earnings per share came in at $3.45, up 44%. Both the top and bottom line easily beat Wall Street forecasts.
As the company previously disclosed, it entered into a settlement agreement with producer-director Frank Darabont and CAA over profits from The Walking Dead. An impairment charge of $143 million hit the quarterly results. The total settlement was $200 million in cash and was reached followed a years-long legal showdown.
While international business is just a fraction of the total for AMC, revenue there increased 53% to $138 million, with ad revenue up 75% on higher pricing, better ratings and foreign currency exchange rates.
Domestic growth was more modest, with total revenue increasing 14% to $639 million over the prior year, and ad revenue up 13% to $212. The company credited higher pricing and growth in ad-supported streaming, which was offset by fewer episodes of original programming compared with a year ago, plus lower ratings.
Distribution revenues increased 14% domestically, to $427 million. Excluding the impact of one particular carriage deal in the period, distribution revenue ticked up 10%.
Subscription revenue rose 21%, paced by higher streaming revenues. In recent quarters, AMC Networks has emphasized its portfolio of niche streaming services, including Shudder, Sundance Now, Acorn TV and ALLBLK. Given trends in pay-TV and advertising, the management team acknowledges that streaming will become a more significant business than linear TV over the next few years. Taken together, the streaming services are on track to have 9 million subscribers by year-end and between 20 million and 25 million subscribers by 2025.