CBS Comes Up Small In Spectrum Auction

"it just didn't make sense for us to participate because we make so much more money by broadcasting in the highest standards possible," COO Joe Ianniello tells securities analysts and investors.

The incentive auction was a bust for CBS.

“We did not sell any full-power stations,” COO Joe Ianniello told securities on the company’s fourth-quarter quarters earning call Wednesday afternoon.

“As the auction continued to drop rapidly in value, it just didn’t make sense for us to participate because we make so much more money by broadcasting in the highest standards possible. So, that’s our bread and butter.”

Ianniello left open the possibility that CBS picked up some auction revenue by selling Class A low-power stations.

As it was for other station groups, the incentive auction was a major disappointment for CBS.

At one point, Marci Ryvicker, a Wells Fargo analyst who had been relatively bearish on the auction, estimated that CBS was positioned to make more than $2 billion in the spectrum sale.

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On the whole, broadcasters will reap $10 billion from the auction. But that’s far less than the $30 billion-$40 billion many had thought the industry would get as demand from wireless carriers — the ultimate spectrum buyers — was weaker than anybody expected.


Comments (7)

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Teri Green says:

February 15, 2017 at 6:24 pm

He sounds like the manager of a Saks justifying higher prices simply because “We’re Saks and they are not.”

    Wagner Pereira says:

    February 15, 2017 at 6:51 pm

    No, he knows where he can make more money long term.

Heidi Persson says:

February 15, 2017 at 9:12 pm

CBS does not own any translators in Minnesota (and translators weren’t included in the auction unless they were class A). Did they mean a satellite station? They do own two of those in Minnesota.

    Linda Stewart says:

    February 16, 2017 at 4:57 am

    You’re right. Will check with CBS.

    Linda Stewart says:

    February 16, 2017 at 8:40 am

    I’ve deleted that part until I check with CBS.

    Heidi Persson says:

    February 16, 2017 at 7:50 pm

    Thanks, I enjoy your reporting!


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