AMC Networks reported strong second-quarter earnings Thursday, boosted by the addition of BBC America and affiliate fee increases as distribution revenue surged $303 million.
The network’s $200 million purchase of a 49 percent stake in BBC America in March of 2014 looks pretty smart right now. The 29 percent gain in distribution income it helped provide drove the network to operational earnings of $83 million, compared with $60 million last year. Earnings per share came in at $1.14, compared with 83 cents in the year-ago period.
Adjusted operating income before depreciation and amortization rose 21.9 percent to $191 million and revenue hit $601 million, a 15 percent gain over 2014. Wall Street analysts were looking for earnings of $64.2 million, or nearly 88 cents per share, on revenue of $588.3 million.
Chief executive Josh Sapan said the gains were “primarily attributable to increases in affiliate fees, including the inclusion of BBC America, as well as increases in digital, licensing and home video revenues.”
Also helping was a 13.4 percent gain in advertising revenue to $186 million, driven by the final episodes of “Mad Men” (photo top), growth at WE tv, IFC and SundanceTV, and the inclusion of BBC America. Donald Draper’s farewell show drew $1 million per spot, the company said.
Despite the positive numbers, shares in AMC Networks fell nearly eight percent to $72.35 in early trading, and were part of a broad retreat by media stocks.