‘The Walking Dead,’ ‘Better Call Saul’ Ad Sales Propel AMC Networks Above Q1 Forecasts

Revenue rises 27.5 percent from 2014’s comparable quarter

AMC Networks is anything but dead on its feet. The company released its first quarter 2015 financials on Monday morning just before the U.S. stock markets opened, reporting earnings per share of $1.66 on net income of $122 million and $668.68 million in revenue.

Wall Street had forecast earnings per share (EPS) of $1.48 on $655.66 million in revenue, according to numbers compiled by Yahoo Finance. Zacks was more bullish on the company’s most recent three-month period, expecting EPS of $1.55. Clearly, AMC’s group of channels bested both estimates.

Net revenues rose 27.5 percent from 2014’s comparable quarter, thanks in large part to strong sales of “The Walking Dead” and “Better Call Saul” commercials. The National Networks (AMC, WE tv, BBC AMERICA, IFC and SundanceTV) were up 25.4 percent in revenue, while the International Networks’ 38.9 percent jump pulled that aforementioned average up.

Advertising alone at the domestic networks was up 25.3 percent from the last Q1, when net income was $72 million, and EPS came in at $0.99.

“AMC Networks is off to a strong start in 2015, with returns on our content investments generating significant growth in our revenues, AOCF and operating income,” touted Josh Sapan, president and chief executive officer of AMC Networks. “Viewers continue to embrace our original programming, including AMC’s ‘The Walking Dead’ and our new original series ‘Better Call Saul,’ which was the most-watched new series on cable in key advertiser demos, this broadcast season.”

“Our international business is developing well, with our portfolio of global channels and strong local brands benefitting from growing demand from distributors,” he continued. “AMC Networks continues to operate from a position of strength, with high quality programming, clearly defined brands and strong audience support that drives financial performance and our ability to create value for shareholders.”

The AMC Networks Q1 earnings call is set for 11 a.m. ET on Monday, at which point this post will be updated with any pertinent information.

AMC Networks stock (AMCX) closed Friday up $0.86 per share — or 1.14 percent — to $76.30. Pre-market on Monday the shares started to soar on the heels of a strong 2015 start.