AMC Networks hit 9.5 million streaming subs for the first quarter of 2022, up from just over 9 million sequentially and in a newly antsy streaming world recommitted to its long-term goal of 20-25 million subs by 2025.
The company behind The Walking Dead universe said revenues nosed up 3% to $804 million driven by growth in streaming and advertising revenue. It reported operating income of $64 million, adjusted operating Income of $103 million and diluted earnings of $0.39 (adjusted EPS was $0.54).
Interim CEO Matt Blank (who stepped in for Josh Sapan last fall) is holding a conference call with investors at 10:30 am ET to discuss. Blank, meanwhile, called 2021 “a strong, pivotal year for AMC Networks. We met or exceeded all our guidance metrics, delivering the highest revenue in our company’s history and full-year U.S. advertising and subscription growth reinforcing the strength of our core business.”
The sub numbers is “a significant milestone,” he said “Driven by the strength of our streaming brands and the depth of content within each of our offerings, and with our acquisition of global anime content distributor Sentai and the HIDIVE anime streaming. service, we deepened our position as the global leader in targeted streaming.” AMC bucket of niche streaming services from indie fare to horror does not aim to compete with larger rivals.
He said 2022 “will be the biggest year for original content in our history, including the highly-anticipated returns of Better Call Saul and Killing Eve. We have great confidence in our unique streaming model and we’re more confident than ever that we’re pursuing the right strategy for our company, for the audiences we serve, and for our shareholders.”
AMC reaffirmed financial guidance of low single-digital revenue growth and a 10% drop in operating income from 2021 on higher content and marketing spend for free cash flow of $100 million.
Shows greenlit during the quarter include new AMC+ and AMC originals series including The Walking Dead Universe’s Isle of the Dead, starring Lauren Cohan and Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Straight Man, starring Bob Odenkirk, The Driver, starring Giancarlo Esposito, and Orphan Black: Echoes.