AMC Networks Tops Q1 Earnings Mark as Higher Advertising Rates Battle Lower Ratings

Revenues rise with acquisitions, but profit ticks down slightly

AMC Networks released better-than-expected first-quarter 2019 financial results early Wednesday morning. That’s not to say everything was amazing — but it was good enough.

Wall Street had forecast the company’s Q1 earnings per share (EPS) at $2.29 on $773.3 million in revenue, per a Yahoo Finance consensus estimate. AMC Networks actually reported adjusted EPS of $2.64 on $784.2 million in revenue. Those are solid beats.

Overall, company first-quarter revenues rose 5.9% from the comparable quarter last year. That’s in large part related to the acquisitions of Levity in April 2018 and RLJ Entertainment in October 2018.

Across U.S. networks AMC, WE tv, BBC America, IFC, SundanceTV, and production arm AMC Studios, revenues fell 2.7% for the three-month period ending March 31, 2019. Though advertising revenues grew 5.9% due to higher pricing and the timing of key shows — most notably the airing of more “Walking Dead” episodes” this time around — lower TV ratings partially offset the better rates. Distribution revenues dropped 7.4% from the same time period last year.

All told, profits dipped a few pennies per share versus Q1 2018 results. Josh Sapan’s good with it.

“AMC Networks had a strong start to the year and our results have put us on track to achieve our full-year targets,” the AMC Networks president and CEO said in a statement accompanying AMC’s financials. “With our focused, well-priced and desirable collection of assets, we occupy a differentiated space in the media landscape. We continue to create distinctive content that ignites broad cultural conversation, including ‘Killing Eve’ and ‘The Walking Dead,’ some of today’s most enduring IP on any screen, anywhere. We recently greenlit a third ‘Walking Dead’ original series with more incarnations to come.”

AMC Networks stock (AMCX) closed Tuesday at $58.41 per share, down $1.92 cents per share. The U.S. stock markets will reopen at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday morning, though things are looking up in pre-market-hours trading.

That’s good news as AMCX has had a pretty rough two months. The stock closed at $66.39 on March 1. By the end of April, it had dropped 12%.

Sapan and other AMC Networks executives will host a conference call at 8:30 a.m. ET to discuss the quarter in greater detail.