AMC Profits Rise On 'The Walking Dead' Strength

AMC Networks is on track to hit its full-year targets for revenue and profit, and the cable programmer is pointing to The Walking Dead franchise for its profit surges.

"Total revenue inched up $13 million from the year-ago period, to $648 million," Deadline reports. "Operating income surged 31% to $153 million and on an adjusted basis climbed 19% to $200 million. Third quarter net income was $87 million, or $1.35 per share, compared with $65 million, or 91 cents per share a year ago."

AMC is on track to hit its full-year targets for revenue and profit for the five networks under the AMC Networks banner: AMC, IFC, Sundance TV, We TV and BBC America. President and CEO Josh Sapan credited The Walking Dead franchise — currently comprised of The Walking Dead, now in its eighth season, and Fear The Walking Dead, which concluded its critically acclaimed third season in mid-October — as well as another "top-performer," Breaking Bad prequel/spinoff Better Call Saul.

AMC will bring the two shows of its Walking Dead franchise together before the end of 2018, in a crossover that was officially confirmed by The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman earlier this month during New York Comic Con. The Walking Dead season 9 and Fear The Walking Dead season 4 are a given, with Sapan saying earlier today that the franchise is so strong it could endure for decades.

“Our results reflect the consistent execution of our long-term strategy of investing in high-quality, immersive content that is resulting in growing demand among traditional distributors, virtual MVPDs [multichannel video programming distributors], advertisers and consumers; and, importantly, is giving us the ability to monetize the demand for our content through new revenue streams,” Sapan said in the earnings release. “In an evolving media and entertainment marketplace, AMC Networks is well positioned based on our size, our pricing and our content, which includes four of the highest-rated dramas on all of basic cable, giving us the ability to continue to further invest in our content, our brands and new businesses.”

AMC's growing global footprint as well as its growing number of owned shows through in-house production arm AMC Studios are two important facets of the company's growth, Sapan said. In addition to The Walking Dead and Fear The Walking Dead, AMC Studios is behind such shows as Talking Dead, Preacher, Halt and Catch Fire, The Divide, TURN: Washington's Spies and Into the Badlands.

The Walking Dead is now airing its eighth season Sundays at 9/8c on AMC, immediately followed by live after show Talking Dead. Season 4 of Fear The Walking Dead is expected to hit AMC summer 2018.