AMC Networks profits jump 60%

Revenue rose 4.6% to $284 million

AMC Networks, the standalone stable of four cable nets, said profit jumped a hefty 60% to $40 million last quarter on higher affiliate fees and one-time gains as CEO Josh Sapan stressed a focus on owning more programming.

Revenue rose 4.6% to $284 million. That didn’t include cash from a recently inked deal with Netflix that will appear in results for the current quarter.

Company cited a 6.9% increase that was a combination of higher affiliate fees at AMC and WE TV and a nonrecurring contractual adjustment that benefited Sundance Channel and IFC.

Advertising revenues in the quarter were essentially flat, primarily due to the absence of “Mad Men,” which aired on AMC in the year-earlier period.

Currently, hit show “The Walking Dead” is the only one AMC Networks fully owns, although Sapan noted that licensing deals for other shows carry certain rights to participate in ancillary windows.

“That said, we do think it’s ideal for us to own more than we have in the past because the benefits and rewards of ownership, with a reasonable degree of success, are very good for us,” Sapan said. “We will own more, but will be disciplined in that the show has the appropriate risk profile,” he added. Zombies in “The Walking Dead” are pretty much fullproof, he said.

Domestic networks revenue for the third quarter increased 3.9% to $258 million.

Operating income grew 24% to $99 million.

International and other — primarily AMC/Sundance Channel Global, IFC Films, AMC Networks Broadcasting and Technology, and Voom HD — saw revenue jump 14% to $31 million. Division posted an operating loss of $4 million as higher programming and marketing costs offset growth in theatrical revenues at IFC Films and higher affiliate fees.

AMC ended the quarter with 96 million domestic subscribers, according to Nielsen; WE with 75.5 million; IFC with 61.6 million; and Sundance Channel with 41.1 million.