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AMC Networks 1Q profit jumps, misses expectations

NEW YORK (AP) -- AMC Networks said Thursday that its first-quarter profit jumped 16 percent, helped by contributions from an acquisition and the popularity of the TV show "The Walking Dead."

But its shares fell sharply in morning trading as its adjusted earnings were below Wall Street's expectations.

AMC Networks Inc. operates several cable channels, including AMC, IFC, SundanceTV and WE tv. "The Walking Dead," which airs on AMC, grew its viewership by 24 percent during the recent quarter and remains the most watched show among adults aged 18 to 49, the age group that advertisers covet.

The New York-based cable channel operator earned $71.4 million, or 98 cents per share, compared with $61.5 million, or 85 cents per share, in the same quarter of 2013.

Excluding discontinued operations and one-time items, the company earned an adjusted $1.04 per share for the recent quarter.

But analysts, on average, expected a profit of $1.16 per share, according to FactSet.

Revenue jumped 37 percent to $524.6 million from $382 million, boosted by contributions from Chellomedia, which the company acquired in the first quarter of 2014. That topped analysts' average estimate of $507.8 million in revenue.

First-quarter advertising revenue at the company's national networks jumped 27 percent from the prior year to $208 million, helped by the AMC channel's original programming, the company said.

Its shares dropped $6.61, or 10.1 percent, to $58.91 in morning trading Thursday. Its shares had been down almost 4 percent so far this year through Wednesday's close.