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Does AMC Networks Need To Fear The Declining Ratings?

AMC Networks Inc. NASDAQ:AMCX - Does AMC Networks Need To Fear The Declining Ratings?

Ratings for AMC Networks Inc’s AMCX 2.49% ‘Fear The Walking Dead’ [FTWD] series seem to be “a melting ice cube,” Loop Capital Markets’ David W. Miller said in a report. He maintained a Hold rating on AMC Networks, with a price target of $60, commenting that the company needs another owned hit.

Ratings Slide

FTWD has always performed short of expectations, but this has been because expectations were set “artificially (and unfairly) high from the very beginning,” analyst Miller pointed out.

When it debuted, FTWD’s ratings were expected to match those of The Walking Dead [TWD], which did not happen. Miller added, however, that FTWD did become the highest-rated scripted series debut on cable for 2015, with an average viewership of 10.1 million.

FTWD, which is now in its second season, has begun to “bleed viewers,” with viewership declining from 6.67 million in Ep1, to 5.58 million in Ep2, to 4.73 million in Ep3, to 3.86 million last week. This decline, albeit from an artificial high, is exerting pressure on AMC Networks’ shares, which have lost 26.5 percent year-to-date, the analyst commented.

Needs A Hit

“With that as backdrop, and in order to get the stock out of its funk, AMCX needs a third "owned hit" on par with The Walking Dead or Game of Thrones…Yes, AMCX currently owns original series Turn, Humans, and Into the Badlands, but those three series, while accumulating much critical acclaim, have proven to be too 'culty,' and have not proven to be catalysts for the stock,” Miller wrote.

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DateFirmActionFromTo
Aug 2016Loop CapitalInitiates Coverage onHold
Aug 2016Goldman SachsMaintainsBuy
Aug 2016JP MorganMaintainsNeutral

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