AMC's First Earnings Show Income Up 23%

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AMC Networks, announcing its first financial results as a stand-alone company, reported higher earnings for the second quarter, compared to a year ago when it was part of Cablevision Systems.

Net income was $27.2 million, or 39 cents a share, up 23% from $22.1 million, or 32 cents a share a year ago.

Breaking Bad

Net revenue increased 12.3% to $292 million. Advertising revenues were up 21.2%.

"For the second quarter of 2011, AMC Networks delivered solid increases in net revenues and AOCF [adjusted operating cash flow], driven primarily by the ongoing strength of our National Networks," CEO Josh Sapan said in a statement. "With a record 31 Primetime Emmy nominations this year, we continue to focus on investing in quality original programming to drive ratings, differentiate our brands and provide value to our distributors and advertisers."

AMC, which completed its spinoff on June 30, said its national networks, which include AMC, WeTV, IFC and Sundance Channel, had adjusted operating cash flow of $117 million, up 7.4%.

Revenue rose 10.5% to $266.7 million.

The company said the revenue growth was led by ad-revenue gains at AMC and WeTV. Affiliate fee revenue increased 3.8%.

Some of AMC Networks' affiliate deals are up at the end of 2012, and one analyst on an earnings call asked if the company planned to sacrifice margins by increasing programming and marketing spending in order to get ratings up in hopes of earning higher affiliate fees.

"I don't think it really operates on a month-by-month, or three-month basis or six-month basis. I think the importance of AMC is established on a multiyear basis," Sapan said. "And these expirations generally occur a couple every year, so it's part of the fabric of our business."

Negotiations over one of AMC's award-winning shows, Breaking Bad, produced with Sony, have reportedly grown contentious, with Sony contacting other networks about their interest in the series.

Asked about Breaking Bad, Sapan said "we very much like the show . . . "we're actively working on a new arrangement with them. We're hard at work on it as we speak . . . we're hopeful to have resolution very soon."