Accounting for Radio Deal Swings CBS to Q1 Loss

CBS’s earnings swung to a loss as a number of special situations affected the company’s profits and revenues in the first quarter.

CBS reported a net loss of $252 million, compared with earnings of $473 million a year ago .The loss includes a non-cash charge of $715 million to cover the valuation of CBS Radio while the deal selling CBS Radio is pending.

Net earnings from continuing operations were $454 million for the first quarter, up from $442 million a year ago.

Related: CBS Tops Daytime Emmys

Revenues were $3.34 billion, down from $3.59 billion a year ago, when CBS broadcast Super Bowl 50 and an additional NFL playoff game. Excluding those games, first quarter revenue would have been up by high-single digits, the company said.

Affiliate and subscription fees were up 17%, with retransmission consent fees and reverse comp from CBS affilaites up 28%.

Advertising revenues were $1.603 billion, down from $2.85 in the Super Bowl year.

Related: Moonves Snags 22% Raise

Operating income for CBS’s cable networks rose 9% to $248 million for the first quarter. Revenue rose 3% to $543 million.

CBS’s local media operations were also impacted by comparisons to the Super Bowl year. Operating income dropped 18% to $123 million. Revenues were down $9 to $409 million.

“Our first-quarter results once again demonstrate the strength of our strategy, which is to diversify our revenue mix as we achieve our long-term financial goals,” said CEO Les Moonves.

‘We continue to add to our content pipeline all the time,” Moonves added. “That content becomes even more valuable when we license it across distribution services, both here in the U.S. and internationally as well. As we continue to sharpen our core content focus in the quarters to come, including the split-off of our radio business, we will be even better positioned to take advantage of all the opportunities before us. So there is so much yet to come, and our road map for success is clear.”

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.