Big gains in retransmission payments pushed third quarter profits higher for CBS, despite flat advertising revenues.
Net earnings were $478 million, or $1.07 per share, up from $426 million, or 89 cents a share a year ago.
Revenues rose 4% to $3.4 billion.
The figure exceeded Wall Street estimates and sent CBS stock higher in after-hours trading.
“CBS is clearly knocking the cover off the ball, including revenue and profit growth across every one of our operating segments. Our premium content continues to be the driving force behind our success,” said CEO Les Moonves.
“With ownership in all of our new fall shows, we have once again positioned our Company to monetize additional content across all platforms for years to come,” Moonves said. “This includes content licensing and distribution, which benefited from a 40% increase in streaming revenue during the third quarter. It also includes affiliate and subscription fees, where retransmission consent and reverse compensation grew 32% during the quarter, and where we continue to see rapid growth in our subscription streaming services.”
Advertising revenues were flat at $1.5 billion. The company said ad revenues during the third quarter were affected by 10 hours of primetime preemptions for Democratic and Republican conventions and the first presidential debate as well as competition from the 2016 Summer Olympics, while advertising benefited from higher political spending.
Operating income for CBS’ entertainment unit, which includes the CBS broadcast network, rose 3% to $348 million from $339 million. Revenues were $1.95 billion, up 1% from $1.93 billion. Network ad revenues were down 2%.
At the cable networks unit, including Showtime, operating income was $285 million, up 16% from $246 million a year ago. Revenues rose 4% to $598 million from $526 million.
Local media operating income was $122 million, up 21% from $101 million, as revenues rose 9% to $409 million from $376 million.
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