AMC Networks beat Wall Street estimates for the fourth quarter and reported 9 million streaming subscribers as of the end of 2021, in line with company projections.
Earnings came in at 54 cents a share on an adjusted, diluted basis, down 80% from the same quarter a year ago but comfortably ahead of forecasts. Revenue inched up 3% to $803.7 million.
The company’s portfolio of niche streaming services, including AMC+, Acorn TV and Shudder, is on track to reach company projections of 20 million to 25 million subscribers.
For the full year 2021, AMC Networks reported record revenue of $3.1 billion, up 9% from 2020.
In the quarter, advertising revenue slipped 1% to $234 million. The company blamed lower linear ratings, though it pointed to higher pricing and ad-supported streaming growth as counter-balancing factors.
Adjusted operating income fell 16% to $122 million in the quarter. The company cited “increased investments in subscriber acquisition and retention marketing to support the continued growth of our streaming services.”
In the company’s earnings release, interim CEO Matt Blank saluted the streaming subscriber tally as “a significant milestone driven by the strength of our streaming brands and the depth of content within each of our offerings.”
Blank took the helm last year after longtime CEO and company exec Josh Sapan stepped down, one of several changes in the C-suite as AMC Networks has reckoned with a changing media era. With a focus on niche streaming, the company expects to derive most of its revenue from the digital side by 2025, a notable change for a steward of cable networks that were once the profitable and growing focus of its business.