AMC Networks — the company behind such cable channel brands as AMC, IFC and Sundance TV, as well as such streaming services as AMC+, Acorn TV and Shudder — reported an 23 percent drop in fourth-quarter U.S. advertising revenue on Friday, following an 18 percent decline in the third quarter, a second-quarter drop of 17 percent and a first-quarter decrease of 20 percent.
After returning to streaming subscriber growth in the third quarter after two quarters of declines, the company added 300,000 subs in the fourth quarter to end 2023 with a total of 11.4 million.
The latest quarterly U.S. ad revenue update came for the final quarter of 2023, in which AMC Networks aired such original series as The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon.
A growing tally of Walking Dead off-shoots is one indication of how valuable past properties and players remain to AMC Networks and its brands. Earlier this week, the company unveiled a new vehicle for Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul star Giancarlo Esposito (Parish), a revival of sorts for WE TV reality show Braxton Family Values and new projects based on the works of Anne Rice (Interview With the Vampire) and Dashiell Hammett (Monsieur Spade, a sequel of sorts to The Maltese Falcon).
CEO Kristin Dolan, the wife of chairman James Dolan, took over the CEO role at AMC Networks at the end of February 2023. On Friday, nearly a year later, she said: “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. I’m encouraged that this year we were able to grow streaming revenue and strengthen our subscriber base, expand our consolidated adjusted operating income 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.”