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AMC Networks Inc (AMCX): How The Undead Can Breathe Life into Investors’ Portfolios

There’s no denying it any longer. Zombies are everywhere, and people couldn’t be happier . . . well, not all people. Some actually believe that they are in imminent danger–so many people, in fact, that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention actually released a formal statement in June 2012. In an e-mail to The Huffington Post, agency spokesman David Daigle wrote:

“CDC does not know of a virus or condition that would reanimate the dead (or one that would present zombie-like symptoms).”

AMC Networks Inc (NASDAQ:AMCX)

AMC Networks Inc (NASDAQ:AMCX) is certainly excited. The only cable network in history to win the Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series four years in a row, AMC Networks Inc (NASDAQ:AMCX) certainly didn’t need to be woken from the dead, but it will certainly welcome the zombie invasion nonetheless. Crediting its performance largely to the success of The Walking Dead, AMC Networks Inc (NASDAQ:AMCX) reported a full year 2012 net revenue increase of 13.9% to $1.3 billion and an operating income increase of 11.1% to $363 million.

Is The Walking Dead really that popular? Yes, it really is. The season three premiere logged 10.9 million viewers, and just a few months later, the mid-season three premiere logged 12.3 million viewers (the most watched episode in the show’s history.)

But, more importantly than that, the mid-season three premiere had 7.7 million viewers in the coveted 18-to-49 year-old demographic, making it the highest rated telecast in basic cable history for that age bracket. I guess I shouldn’t be so embarrassed anymore to confess that I’m a huge fan of the show.

There’s no suggestion that the show is slowing down. Production for season four begins on May 6, and there’s still plenty of room to run after that. The series is based on a comic book of the same name, which first appeared in 2003. Fans of the comic know that the show deviates from the plot lines of the comics, availing the show’s producers to proceed in a variety of directions.

The movies are also dying to get involved

Hoping that the zombie craze will translate to the silver screen, Viacom, Inc. (NASDAQ:VIAB) and its subsidiary, Paramount Pictures, have invested more than $170 million in World War Z. Adapted from the novel of the same name, World War Z chronicles the attempts of an U.N. worker to stop a zombie outbreak.

Viacom, Inc. (NASDAQ:VIAB) needs the zombies to bring the filmed entertainment division back to life. For the quarter ending Dec. 31, 2012, Viacom saw a total revenue decrease of 16% to $3.3 billion. The filmed entertainment segment experienced a revenue decrease of 37% to $975 million. In addition, worldwide theatrical revenue fell 42% to $328 million.

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