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AMC Networks Beats on Q3 Earnings Despite 15% Drop in US Ad Sales

Operating income dropped nearly 29% at national networks (AMC, WE tv, BBC AMERICA, IFC, SundanceTV and AMC Studios)

AMC Networks topped estimates for its third quarter earnings despite negative impacts due to the global coronavirus pandemic.

Wall Street had forecast earnings of $1.28 per share on revenue of $606.04 million in revenue, according to a consensus forecast compiled by Yahoo Finance. On Monday morning, AMC reported adjusted EPS of $1.32 per share on $654 million in revenue.

Overall, revenues dipped 9% from the comparable quarter in 2019. The company’s operating loss was -17.2%. (After some favorable adjustments, that figure was a slightly more palatable -15.4%.)

Those declines from last year were harsher when just isolating the U.S. networks. Internationally, revenues actually grew thanks to AMC Networks’ subscriber video on demand services: Acorn TV, Shudder, Sundance Now and UMC.

In the U.S., ad sales declined 15.5% compared to Q3 of 2019. That reflected the timing of original programming both due to COVID-19 and not, as well as a lower demand for those commercial slots.

AMC’s national networks include AMC, WE tv, BBC America, IFC, SundanceTV and AMC Studios.

“The company delivered solid results in the 3rd quarter and we continue to maintain a strong financial profile, with a solid balance sheet, very good liquidity and healthy levels of free cash flow,” President and Chief Executive Officer Josh Sapan said in prepared remarks accompanying the financials.

SVOD subscribers are projected to top 4 million by the end of the year, Sapan said. “With the addition of our new AMC+ premium SVOD offering, we expect to have 5 to 5.5 million total SVOD subscribers, in aggregate, by the end of the year,” he said, also touting the performance of AMC shows like “The Walking Dead” franchise that account for four of the top six cable drama among adults 25-54 in 2020. “The Walking Dead: World Beyond” ranks as the No. 1 freshman cable drama of the year, he added.

AMC stock (AMCX) closed Friday at $21.25 per share. The U.S. stock markets will reopen for the regular training day at 9:30 a.m. ET.

Sapan and his fellow AMC executives will host a conference call at 8:30 a.m. ET today to discuss the third quarter results in greater detail.