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Robust interest in ads at cabler that is home of "Walking Dead" series

AMC Networks saw net income increase significantly in the first quarter due in large part due to ad demand at its flagship cabler.

The owner of AMC, Sundance Channel, IFC and We said first-quarter net income came to about $61.5 million, or 86 cents a share, compared with about $43.2 million, or 62 cents a share a year earlier. Revenue in the period increased $56 million, or 17.1%, to $382 million over the first quarter of 2012.

AMC said the revenue growth was led primarily led by a 26.9% increase in advertising revenues at its national cable networks, where revenue came to $164 million.  The company cited strong demand for original programming, particularly at AMC. At that cabler, horror series “The Walking Dead” has become a major hit among audiences between the ages of 18 and 49, a demographic highly sought after by advertisers..  Distribution revenues increased 11.7% to $196 million, AMC said, citin increases in digital distribution and affiliate fee revenues.

AMC said revenue at its international and other operations came in around $26 million, essentially flat with performance in the year-earlier period.  The company said an increase in affiliate fee revenues related to international operations offset by a decline in revenues at its IFC Films unit.

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