Nonetheless, Sapan did his best to combat those concerns as well, stating "This strategic approach has enabled us to diversify our sources of revenue and has set us up well for an increasingly digital future, one in which consumers exercise more choice and control over every minute of television they watch. We believe this strategy will continue to allow us to create value for our shareholders in the near, mid and long term."
Quarterly net revenue climbed 15.1% year over year to $601.1 million, driven by 22.8% growth from National Networks, and held back by a 9.4% drop to $112.9 million from AMC's "International and Other" segment.
That translated to a 38.3% increase in net income from continuing operations to $83 million, or $1.14 per diluted share. On an adjusted basis, which includes amortization of acquisition-related intangibles, AMC's earnings rose to $1.23 per share, up from $0.90 per share in the year-ago period. Adjusted operating cash flow also climbed 21.9% year over year to $191 million.
Analysts, on average, were anticipating adjusted earnings of just $0.88 per share -- extending AMC's recent streak of bottom-line outperformance -- and lower revenue of $588.3 million. Consequently, I can't blame AMC Networks CEO Josh Sapan for calling it a "strong second quarter ... driven by our continued focus on investing in high-quality programming."
To be sure, AMC's acquisition of Chellomedia -- formerly the international content division of Liberty Global -- sets it up nicely to more effectively manage and monetize overseas distribution, especially considering its impending premiere of spin-off series Fear the Walking Dead later this month. Sapan also reminded shareholders that AMC has "aligned ourselves with a premier producer of content through our BBC AMERICA joint venture," under which the company invested $200 million for operational control and a 49.9% equity stake in the channel.
Why it's happening: In the meantime, however, investors certainly aren't pleased that this marks the first decline in nine quarters for AMC Networks' international business. And compounding the situation is a huge sell-off in other media companies amid worries about the negative impact of cable cord cutters. Yesterday, for example, Disney dropped 9% after its own second-quarter results revealed falling ad sales and modest subscriber losses at ESPN. And Discovery Communications drifted more than 11% lower after it posted solid Q2 results, but followed with a light full-year outlook.