AMC Networks Beats Street, Stock Pops As Q2 Profit Dips On Charges & Ad Sales Softer On COVID-19

AMC Networks’ net income plunged to $15 million, or $0.28 a share for the second quarter, versus $129 million or $2.25 the year before, hit by hefty write downs for $130 million.

Revenue dipped 16.3% to $646 million on softer advertising – down 18% in the U.S. and 10% abroad.

But the numbers beat Wall Street’s expectations and the shares jumped 5% in early trading.

AMC’s five nationally distributed programming networks include AMC, BBC America, IFC, SundanceTV and WE tv. AMC Studios is its television production business.

AMC said targeted streaming services Acorn TV, Shudder, Sundance Now and UMC “delivered impressive year-over-year growth in revenues and subscribers.” It launched new subscription video on demand (SVOD) bundles AMC+ and WE tv+

During the quarter, AMC acquired the streaming rights to Mad Men; joined advanced advertising consortiums OpenAP and Xandr; joined the OnAddressability initiative with several of its major distribution partners to further advance its addressability capabilities and furthered its AVOD strategy with launches on Pluto TV and Dish’s Sling.

National Networks revenues for the second quarter 2020 decreased 18% to $496 million, operating income decreased 12.4% to $188 million, and adjusted operating income decreased 11.2% to $210 million, all compared to the prior year period. The decrease in advertising revenues was primarily related to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in lower demand, as well as the timing of the airing of original programming. Distribution revenues decreased 19.9% to $308 million. The decrease in distribution revenues was attributable to a decrease in both subscription revenues and content licensing revenues.

Programming expenses included charges of $7 million in the current year period related to the write-off of programming assets, as compared to charges of $10 million in the prior year period. Advertising and marketing expenses also decreased as compared to the prior year period.

International and other revenues for the second quarter of 2020 decreased 10.3% to $161 million, operating loss increased $112 million to a loss of $139 million, and adjusted operating income increased $3 million to $15 million, all compared to the prior year period.

CEO Josh Sapan said the company delivered solid results “amidst a continuing challenged and uncertain environment.”

“We remain focused on our strategic priorities and are making progress on our major initiatives – which include creating great content and monetizing that content across an expanding array of platforms.”

Last week, AMC Networks received 18 Emmy nominations, including two out of the eight nominations for Outstanding Drama, for original series Better Call Saul and Killing Eve, “demonstrating our continued ability to stand out in a crowded landscape with compelling character-driven stories that drive the cultural conversation.”

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