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AMC Networks’ U.S. Ad Sales Fall 23% in Final Quarter of 2023 as Streaming Subs Inch Up

AMC Networks saw its streaming subscribers increase by 2.7% sequentially and its U.S. ad sales drop by 23% year-over-year in the fourth quarter of 2023.

Streaming subscribers stood at 11.1 million as of Sept. 30, up 1% from where they ended at 11 million at the conclusion of Q2 in June. In its Q4 2023 earnings results Friday, AMC Networks reported that it closed out the year with 11.4 million subs.

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AMC Networks’ streaming platforms include AMC+, Acorn TV, Shudder, Sundance Now, ALLBLK and HIDIVE. Those digital offerings are in addition to the company’s linear channels AMC, BBC America (a joint venture with BBC Studios), IFC, SundanceTV, WE tv and IFC Films.

Wall Street forecast earnings per share (EPS) of 89 cents on $676 million in revenue for the October-December 2023 quarter, according to analyst consensus data provided by LSEG, formerly Refinitiv. AMC Networks reported adjusted EPS of 72 cents (and diluted loss per share of 50 cents) on $678 million in revenue.

Shares of AMC Networks plummeted 20% in midmorning trading Friday to under $14/share on the earnings news. The stock had closed Thursday at $17.04 per share.

AMC Networks attributes the above-mentioned 23% U.S. ad sales drop to ongoing linear TV ratings decline, a stiff ad market and fewer new episodes of its original programming, including “The Walking Dead” and Anne Rice TV franchises, airing during the quarter.

Content licensing revenue dove 68% compared to the previous year, when AMC Studios drew $126 million in Q4 2022 for producing drama “Silo” for Apple TV+.

Subscription revenues were down 8% with streaming sales up by 4%. Affiliate sales fell 16%.

In AMC Networks’ “International and other” results, which includes AMC Networks International (its international programming business) and its since-sold production services business 25/7 Media, distribution sales dropped 11% with subscription sales down 5% and content licensing falling 21%. Ad sales were up 7%.

“In the fourth quarter and across 2023, we continued to see success in the areas that will drive this company forward – programming, partnerships and profitability,” AMC Networks CEO Kristin Dolan said in a letter to shareholders. “I’m encouraged that this year we were able to grow streaming revenue and strengthen our subscriber base, expand our consolidated AOI margin to 25%, and meaningfully grow our free cash flow. Nearly a year since joining AMC Networks as CEO, I am proud of the progress we have made in a fast-changing environment, and the new and innovative ways we are engaging with viewers and our commercial and creative partners.”

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