This was one of those mornings where corporate executives definitely did not want to get out of bed. By 8:05 a.m. ET, Fox Corp. lost $50 million, The CW lost $83 million, and AMC Networks lost 300,000 streaming subscribers.
OK, so technically all of that happened by the close of business on March 31; it just wasn’t revealed until early Tuesday morning. And would you believe this part? Two of the three stocks are currently trading up, and the other is about flat. Somehow, even with the losses, shareholders brought home some bacon with their eggs and coffee.
We’ll start with AMC. The networks group reported having 11.5 million total streaming subscribers at the end of its first quarter for 2023. There was just one problem: AMC had 11.8 million subs at the end of 2022. Niche streaming just got niche-er.
The company, now run by Kristin Dolan who is separated from her husband and AMC’s controlling shareholder James Dolan, had some spin at the ready this morning. “Streaming subscribers grew 22% from the prior year to 11.5 million subscribers as of March 31, 2023,” AMC Networks wrote in its earnings release. It’s true, subs are up from March 31, 2022 to March 31, 2023, but that’s not really how any of this works — their subs are down 2.5 percent from one quarter to the next. And ad sales plummeted by 20 percent.
But let them have their fun, and maybe even some champagne in their orange juice: AMC shares (AMCX) are up 9 percent this morning. In addition to the touted year-to-year improvements, which also include a 29 percent gain at streaming revenue, AMC Networks beat Wall Street’s earnings and revenue forecasts, and had with a particularly strong performance from content licensing. Also helping out is the fact that AMC Networks announced carriage renewals with Dish and Sling for its U.S. channels, streaming services, and FAST channels. Mimosas for all!
Nexstar, which owns The CW and a ton of local television stations, is also trading up this morning — albeit to a lesser (NXST +2 percent) degree. Hey, a quarterly loss of $83 at the broadcast network is an improvement over last quarter’s loss of $94.3 million. And setting a new overall revenue record, as Nexstar did with strong growth from distribution, digital, and retransmission fees, is always a good thing. Shop local.
Fox’s fiscal third-quarter swung from earnings of $290 million the prior year to a loss “primarily” due to the company’s settlement of Dominion lawsuit, according to footnotes in its own financials.
Still, the company “put up a solid quarter vs. expectations” and “has plenty of cash” on hand, Wells Fargo wrote in a note to clients. Well, that cash is going to get a bit lighter in the current April-June quarter; since Fox paid out the Dominion settlement in April, that $787.5 million didn’t actually come out of the cash balance in the March quarter.