AMC Shares Jump as ‘Walking Dead,’ ‘Mad Men’ Boost Ad Sales

AMC Networks Inc. rose to its highest price in more than 22 months as shows including “The Walking Dead” and “Mad Men” led to a 27 percent rise in the cable programmer’s advertising revenue.

AMC climbed 2.8 percent to $66.44 at 4 p.m. New York time, the highest closing price since June 17, 2011. The shares have advanced 34 percent this year.

Advertising revenue rose to $164 million, driven by the popularity of “The Walking Dead,” the zombie thriller that has been the most-watched drama on television this season among 18-to-49-year-olds. Ratings are up 55 percent from the previous season, the company said today in a statement.

“AMC Networks is off to a strong start in 2013,” Chief Executive Officer Josh Sapan said in the statement. The company’s original programming is “resonating with an increasing number of viewers and advertisers,” he said.

Net income from continuing operations was $61.5 million, or 85 cents a share, in the period, up from $43.2 million, or 60 cents, a year earlier. Analysts had estimated 79 cents on average, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Sales were $382 million, compared with a projection of $367.2 million.

AMC Networks owns four cable channels -- AMC, IFC, We TV and Sundance Channel. Revenue from the four networks rose 18 percent from a year earlier to $359.5 million, and their operating income jumped 29 percent to $141.4 million.

Operating expenses rose 11 percent to $254.5 million as the company increased spending on new original programming such as Sundance Channel’s “Rectify” and “Top of the Lake.”