The cable and streaming programmer posted adjusted earnings per share of $1.85, which was down from $2.09 a year ago but still ahead of Wall Street analysts’ consensus estimate. Revenue, though, did not clear the Street’s bar, falling nearly 7% to $637 million.
Advertising revenue came in at $147 million, with the earnings release blaming the 18% drop on “anticipated linear ratings declines, a challenging ad market and fewer original programming episodes within the quarter.”
Affiliate revenue decreased 13%, with the company blaming basic subscriber declines and a 3% hit to revenue from a strategic non-renewal with a distributor at the end of 2022.
Streaming provided somewhat of a bright spot, but growth was muted. AMC Networks operates a portfolio of niche services, so it is playing a different game than larger media rivals backing general entertainment streamers, but nevertheless the road is challenging. Revenue in streaming increased 9% to $142 million and the overall tally of subscribers rose 4% from a year ago to 11.1 million. Growth over the second quarter was modest at 100,000 subscribers but it reversed previous sequential declines.
AMC Networks has been pushing to increase advertising and subscriber-acquisition opportunities in several strategic directions of late, launching a raft of FAST channels and an ad-supported version of flagship streamer AMC+. It has also recently initiated the first fully programmatic ad buying setup in linear prime time. On the streaming front, it also swung a deal with Warner Bros. Discovery during the quarter to have seven series appear on its Max streaming service as pop-ups free of charge to Max subscribers.