Retrans, Football Drive CBS in Q3

CBS grew revenue by 2% to $3.4 billion in the third quarter, fueled by retransmission-consent fees, professional football and gains in content licensing.

The inaugural season of Thursday Night Football helped drive advertising sales up 2% in the period, according to the company. Content licensing revenue rose about 4% in the period.

“Our third-quarter growth reflects the success of our efforts to create and monetize our premium content,” CBS CEO Les Moonves said in a statement adding that during the quarter the broadcaster renegotiated new station affiliate contracts with LIN Media, Tribune Broadcasting, Media General, and Gray Television which will bring it closer to its “stated goal of $2 billion in retransmission consent and reverse compensation revenues by 2020.”

In addition, the broadcaster unveiled CBS All Access, an over-the-top service that for $5.99 per month gives subscribers access to select current CBS shows on demand, live programming from its owned and operated TV stations in 14 markets and access to library programming on demand.

Later on a conference call with analysts, Moonves revealed CBS has reached a content deal with Sony  for its planned over-the-top video service and that as expected, its Showtime premium channel will join Home Box Office in going direct to consumers sometime next year.

While Thursday Night Football, which was simulcast for seven weeks on NFL Network, helped drive ad revenue increases, it also played a role in tamping down cash flow in the period – CBS said adjusted operating income before depreciation and amortization dipped 2% in the period because of additional programming costs associated with new contracts with the National Football League.

At the same time, CBS said NFL programming contributed to the successful launch of three new CBS-owned television series in the 2014/2015 television broadcast season, which all generated higher ratings in their respective time periods compared with the prior year.