AMC Networks beat expectations Thursday, posting a 44.8 percent increase in net income on revenue of $326.2 million thanks in part to stronger advertising sales, led by flagship AMC.
The company posted a 19.5 percent increase in revenues to $326.2 million. Net income rose to $43.2 million (60 cents per diluted share), compared to $29.8 million (43 cents per share) in the first quarter of 2011.
The company had been expected to earn revenue of $303.9 million, according to the average estimate of analysts polled by FactSet Research.
As of 10:15 a.m. Thursday, shares of the stock were up 2.48 percent to $40.60.
Revenues were led by 20.8 percent growth at National Networks -- which include AMC, WE tv, IFC and Sundance Channel -- and a 3.8 percent increase in International and Other. Adjusted Operating Cash Flow totaled $126 million, an increase of 26.2 percent, or $26 million, versus the prior year period.
Growth in National Networks revenues was primarily led by a 29.7 percent increase in advertising revenues, with AMC leading the increase. The company boasted record ratings during the quarter for "The Walking Dead."
Dish Networks announced last week that it would drop AMC Networks from its lineup when their contract expires next month, saying renewal costs were too expensive and the AMC networks didn't generate enough ratings. But AMC accused Dish of threatening to drop it because it suffered a legal setback in a lawsuit in which AMC's indirect subsidiary, Voom HD, is suing Dish for breach of contract.