AMC Networks Tops 6 Million Streaming Subs, U.S. Ad Sales Drop 6% in Final 2020 Quarter

Still, the Josh Sapan-led company beat Wall Street’s earnings and revenue estimates

AMC Networks topped 6 million streaming subscribers across its SVOD platforms last December, hitting its projection of reaching more than 4 million by the end of 2020, the company revealed while reporting its fourth-quarter and full-year earnings Friday.

That subscriber growth, which is up 157% from last year, counts customers across AMC Networks’ AMC+ (which launched last June on Comcast’s Xfinity X1 and Xfinity Flex and has since expanded to Dish, Sling TV, Apple TV and Amazon’s Prime Video), Acorn TV, Shudder, Sundance Now and ALLBLK.

Also during Q4 2020, which counts the three months ending Dec. 31, ad sales at AMC Networks’ national networks, which include AMC, WE tv, BBC America, IFC, SundanceTV and AMC Studios, dropped 5.5%.

Overall, revenues dipped 0.6% from the comparable quarter in 2019 to $780 million and for the y. The company’s operating income was +95.1% ($81 million) for Q4, and an operating loss of -29.2% ($443 million) for the full year. (After some favorable adjustments, those figures changed to -33.3% and -18.8%.)

Wall Street forecast earnings per share (EPS) of 52 cents on $705.01 million in revenue, according to a consensus compiled by Yahoo Finance. On Friday, AMC Networks reported adjusted EPS of $2.72 on $780 million in revenue.

AMC Networks has undergone some changes in recent months, first laying off nearly 100 staffers in a reorganization centered around streaming operations in November. Soon after that, AMC Networks named Aisha Thomas-Petit its chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer, promoted Brett Dismuke to general manager of WE tv and ALLBLK (formerly known as UMC), and hired ViacomCBS’ Chrstina Spade as chief financial officer.

“2020 was a year of strong performance for AMC Networks, as we continued to transform our company while successfully navigating what has been a uniquely challenging and uncertain operating environment,” president and chief executive officer Josh Sapan said in prepared remarks accompanying the financials. “AMC Networks is now the worldwide leader in targeted streaming and, with the addition of our new AMC+ premium bundled offering, streaming is now the most significant growth area of our company. Our distribution relationships are strong, now supported by our streaming offerings, with our ability to complete several renewals in 2020 underscoring the continued strength and attractive value of our linear cable channels. Our digital advertising initiatives are a key priority, including expanded distribution of our content on AVOD and FAST platforms. Our proven and continued ability to create and selectively curate must-have content is allowing us to feed the content pipeline supporting all of our offerings. Our strategy is providing us with strong tailwinds and we believe there are significant and sustainable opportunities before us as we continue to reconstitute our company.”

AMC Networks stock (AMCX) closed Thursday at $53.07 a share. The regular U.S. stock markets will reopen at 9:30 a.m. ET.

Sapan and his fellow AMC executives will host a conference call at 8:30 a.m. ET today to discuss the Q4 and full-year results in greater detail.

More to come…

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