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‘Walking Dead’ Ratings Help Hand AMC’s National Networks a 24-Percent Q4 Ad Sales Bump

Company tops Wall Street earnings estimates

AMC Networks released its fourth quarter 2014 financials on Thursday morning before the U.S. stock markets opened, reporting diluted earnings per share of $1.06 and net income of $78 million on revenue of $609 million, topping analyst expectations and rising from 2013.

Wall Street had forecast Q4 earnings per share of $0.99 on revenue of $602.42 million.

Net income in 2013’s related three-month period was $35 million, producing earnings of $0.49 per diluted share at the time. The company more than doubled those metrics a year later.

Fourth quarter growth in revenues — up a net total 40 percent from the comparable 90-day period last year — was led by a 24.3-percent surge in advertising revenues at the National Networks, raising that number to $255 million. Having the biggest show on TV, AMC’s “The Walking Dead,” sure doesn’t hurt ad sales — though the company also credited its new partner BBC America for chipping in.

On the International front, Q4 revenues increased primarily as a result of the company’s acquisition of Chellomedia.

Fiscal year 2014 total net revenues jumped 36.7 percent for the company.

“The fourth quarter and full-year 2014 was strong for AMC Networks with double-digit percentage increases in our revenue and cash flow,” President and CEO Josh Sapan said. “The strong performance of our original programming with record ratings at our national networks has led to continued increases in affiliate fees and advertising revenues.”

He continued: “Our BBC America joint venture adds another important and valuable network to our portfolio, delivering high-quality programming that attracts audiences and will drive additional opportunities for growth domestically. International expansion continues to be a focus and we believe our Chellomedia acquisition provides a strong platform for our content, enabling us to capitalize long term on international pay TV growth and drive long-term value for our shareholders.”

In 2014’s Q4, AMC Networks spent $200 million for a 49.9 percent stake in BBC America. Shortly after the investment, the company named Sarah Barnett president and general manager of BBC America.

For the previously reported third quarter 2014, AMC Networks saw a strong revenue hike, but missed analysts’ marks on earnings per share.

AMC Networks’ stock (AMCX) closed Wednesday at $69.17, down $0.47 per share or a negative 0.67 percent.

Earlier this month, TheWrap exclusively reported that AMC and Sundance TV are merging their ad sales departments, which will result in the loss of a handful of jobs. About a week before, AMC Networks named Gregg Seibert to the newly created position of vice chairman.

The company’s earnings call is scheduled for 11 a.m. ET, at which point this post will be updated with any pertinent information.

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