Premium TV show producer and distributor AMC Networks (NASDAQ:AMCX) reported third-quarter results Wednesday night. The company posted modest revenue growth and strong bottom-line gains, but this was mostly "business as usual" when you strip away confusing one-time items.

Let's have a closer look.

AMC Networks' third-quarter results: The raw numbers

Metric

Q3 2017

Q3 2016

Year-Over-Year Change

Revenue

$648 million

$635 million

2%

Net income attributable to AMCX shareholders

$87 million

$65 million

34%

GAAP earnings per share (diluted)

$1.35

$0.91

48%

Data source: AMC Networks.

What happened with AMC Networks this quarter?

  • The national networks division saw sales rising 3% year over year, stopping at $541 million. Meanwhile, this segment's operating income rose 29% to $180 million. Advertising sales increased faster than distribution fees paid by broadcasting partners, but both of these sub-operations reported single-digit percentage growth.
  • In the international segment, revenues fell by $1 million to $113 million, largely due to July's sale of an unprofitable media technology business based in the Netherlands. Overall, international operating losses increased from $17 million to $19 million.
  • The year-ago period included a $19 million restructuring expense related to cost-cutting efforts. Without that charge weighing on the third quarter of 2016, net and operating profits would have stayed nearly flat year over year.
Close-up on a hand holding a TV remote, pointed at a blurry TV set in the background.

Image source: Getty Images.

What management had to say

In a prepared statement, AMC CEO Josh Sapan highlighted the operating flexibility his company is enjoying thanks to the halo effect from hit shows such as The Walking Dead and Better Call Saul.

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, advertisers and consumers; and, importantly, is giving us the ability to monetize the demand for our content through new revenue streams.

Looking ahead

AMC Networks is busy refinancing and paying down its long-term debt balances. At the same time, the company has invested $459 million in share buybacks over the last four quarters, including a $102 million repurchase budget in the third quarter.

As a result, AMC's share count has tightened up with an 11% reduction over that one-year period, boosting shareholder value and earnings per share along the way. The company has $382 million left of its share repurchase authorization, down from a $500 million reset five months ago.

Anders Bylund has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends AMC Networks. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.