AMC Networks Third-Quarter Earnings Drop

Breaking Bad - P 2014

The company's year-ago results were boosted by strong 'Breaking Bad' ad revenue

AMC Networks on Thursday reported mixed third-quarter financials.

The cable networks company, led by CEO Josh Sapan, posted a profit of $54 million for the latest quarter, compared with $58 million in the year-ago period. Revenue rose 31.4 percent to $520 million.

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Wall Street analysts had on average expected earnings of $54.8 million on revenue of $511 million.

"Advertising revenues decreased 5.8 percent to $138 million," the company said about its U.S. networks. "The decrease in advertising revenues was due to declines at AMC, principally related to the timing of the airing of original programming, which offset increases at WE tv, IFC and SundanceTV."

The company has had ratings success with its AMC hit show The Walking Dead, whose latest season started earlier in the current fourth quarter, but the year-ago third quarter had been boosted by advertising revenue and strong ratings for the final episodes of Breaking Bad

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Stifel, Nicolaus analyst Benjamin Mogil had predicted year-over-year advertising revenue to drop 5 percent as he estimated that Breaking Bad contributed $25 million of revenue in the prior year period.

AMC Networks recently struck a deal with BBC Worldwide to buy a 49.9 percent stake in BBC America.

"AMC Networks continued its strong financial and operating performance in the third quarter with a double-digit increase in revenue and growth in adjusted operating cash flow," said Sapan. "We are particularly pleased that for the broadcast season, which ended in the third quarter, AMC Networks in aggregate was the only cable media group to have experienced double-digit growth in viewership among key demos adults 18-49 and adults 25-54."

He added: "The recently announced partnership with BBC Worldwide, which includes our taking a 49.9 percent stake in BBC America through a long-term joint venture, meets many of our core strategic objectives for our business and provides a platform for long-term growth and success."

Twitter: @georgszalai