Tags: Walking-Dead | Life | AMC | Networks

"Walking Dead" Breathes Life into AMC Networks

Thursday, 09 May 2013 08:01 PM

AMC Networks reported quarterly results above analysts' estimates as more people watched the cable operator's shows, particularly "The Walking Dead", sending its shares up as much as 9 percent to a two-year high Thursday.

Viewership of The Walking Dead's third season jumped 55 percent from that of the previous season. The season finale in March saw 12.4 million total viewers, including 8.1 million from the 18-49 demographic coveted by advertisers.

The show, about a police officer who finds himself in a world of zombies after waking up from a coma, is based on a comic book series by the same name, written by Robert Kirkman.

It was ranked No. 1 on U.S. TV -- broadcast or cable -- in 18-49 age group, averaging 5.6 million viewers for the latest season, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

AMC's first-quarter net income rose to $61.5 million, or 85 cents per share, from $43.2 million, or 60 cents per share, a year earlier. Revenue rose 17 percent to $382.0 million.

Analysts had expected earnings of 80 cents per share on revenue of $366.7 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

"It ain't the mountains of Tibet but that's a robust beat," Albert Fried & Co analyst Richard Tullo told Reuters.

AMC's profit has missed estimates three times in the last eight quarters, including for the final quarter of 2012.

During the first quarter, advertising revenue rose about 27 percent to $164 million and distribution revenue rose about 12 percent to $196 million.

AMC, which was blacked out from the network of the third largest pay-TV provider Dish Network Corp in July, said it expects to add a litigation settlement gain of about $133 million to its operating income in the second quarter.

Dish paid AMC and former parent Cablevision Systems Corp $700 million as part of a settlement.

AMC said in a filing last month it would pay Cablevision $175 million from its share, leaving Cablevision with $525 million. (http://r.reuters.com/gaj87t)

Dish, whose customers account for about 13 percent of AMC's subscriber base, resumed broadcasting the AMC channel on Oct. 21 but the blackout affected AMC's results until the fourth quarter.

" ... with 'Breaking Bad' and the Dish TV deal I think they will continue to post +12 percent year-on-year (revenue) growth," analyst Tullo added.

"Breaking Bad" is about a chemistry teacher who starts dealing in drugs to support his family. He is aided by one of his former students.

AMC's earnings quality score was 96 out of 100 as of December, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine, compared with the industry's median score of 61.

The StarMine model measures the sustainability of future earnings based on past results and focuses on financial components such as accruals, cash flow, operating efficiency and one-time exclusions.

AMC's shares, which have risen about 11 percent in the last three months, closed up 2.8 percent at $66.44, after trading as high as $70.65.

Dish reported a 40 percent fall in first-quarter profit on Thursday, hurt by higher programming and subscriber-acquisition costs. The company added fewer subscribers than expected during the quarter.

© 2017 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

   
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AMC Networks reported quarterly results above analysts' estimates as more people watched the cable operator's shows, particularly "The Walking Dead", sending its shares up as much as 9 percent to a two-year high Thursday.
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2013-01-09
Thursday, 09 May 2013 08:01 PM
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