AMC Networks Beats Wall Street’s Q4 Benchmarks With Higher US Distribution, Ad Sales

Higher costs hand “Walking Dead” parent slight profit decline

AMC Networks peeled back the financial curtain on its final fiscal quarter of 2016, when it topped Wall Street’s forecasts at both the top and bottom lines.

The home to AMC, WE tv, BBC America, IFC, SundanceTV and television production arm AMC Studios posted Q4 earnings per share (EPS) of $1.30 on $730 million in revenue.

Those results bested media analysts’ marks of $1.27 and $709.83 million, respectively.

That makes company president and CEO Josh Sapan smile.

Here’s what he had to say about the most-recent 90-day period, and the year at large: “2016 was a successful year for our company both financially and operationally, driven by our disciplined and focused strategy of investing in high-quality content and creating brands that have strong, growing, passionate and engaged audiences. ‘The Walking Dead’ remains the No. 1 show on television by a wide margin and is a powerful example of programming that we own and distribute that commands a loyal audience, attracts advertising revenue, and has significant ancillary revenues that will benefit our business for years to come.”

Sapan added: “With a rapidly expanding studio business, we now have a growing portfolio of shows that we own that provide this kind of opportunity for our business… In addition, we are embracing changing viewing habits by making strategic investments in streaming services that fit well with our programming and the audiences at our network brands. As we look ahead in 2017, we see a number of attractive growth opportunities for our businesses and remain committed to delivering meaningful value to our shareholders.”

Domestically, those aforementioned five national networks experienced revenue growth from both its distribution and ad sales streams. Still, due to higher costs throughout company and a less impressive performance internationally, profit slipped from the prior year.

For full-year 2016, net revenues rose 6.8 percent. Though net income slipped from 2015, adjustments helped actual EPS grow.

AMCX stock closed Wednesday afternoon at $57.50, down 19 cents per share. AMC Networks executives will discuss Q4 and the full-year 2016 in greater detail on a 10 a.m. ET/7 a.m. PT conference call.