Increased spending by automotive manufacturers and retailers as well as higher retransmission revenues were offset by lower advertising spending from the utilities and service industries. The company as a whole recorded revenue of almost $4 billion, a 12% increase over last year at this time, and its best 1Q since 2006.
CBS Corp. (NYSE: CBS.A and CBS) reported results for the first quarter ended March 31 on Tuesday after the market closed and showed TV station revenue up 2% from the same period a year earlier.
The company’s local broadcasting group, which includes the CBS Television Stations and CBS Radio, had revenues of $622 million in the first quarter of 2012 remained flat compared with the same prior-year period. Increased spending by automotive manufacturers and retailers as well as higher retransmission revenues were offset by lower advertising spending from the utilities and service industries. For the first quarter of 2012, CBS Television Stations revenues increased 2% from the same quarter last year, while CBS Radio revenues decreased 2%.
For the company as a whole, revenues of $3.92 billion for the first quarter of 2012 increased 12% from $3.51 billion for the same prior-year period. This increase was led by content licensing and distribution revenues, which were up 39%, driven by licensing agreements for digital streaming as well as international and domestic syndication sales.
Advertising revenues increased 5%, reflecting growth in network primetime and sports advertising, including the timing of the semifinals of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship, which aired during the first quarter of 2012 versus the second quarter of 2011. Affiliate and subscription fee revenues rose 7%, led by growth at Cable Networks and higher retransmission revenues.
“The transformation of CBS’s business model continues, and I am extremely pleased that we posted record results,” said Leslie Moonves, CBS president-CEO. “Our ability to capitalize on the fundamental shifts in our industry has led to the growth of significant new revenue streams and has also allowed us to increase our share of non-advertising revenue.”
“As great as these last few years have been, this quarter tops it all,” said Sumner Redstone, CBS executive chairman. “What’s most exciting is that we are poised to benefit from all of the strategic actions we’ve taken — and continue to take — for a long, long time.”
Entertainment revenues for the first quarter of 2012 increased 16% to $2.32 billion from $1.99 billion for the same prior-year period, principally driven by the licensing of television programming for digital streaming and syndication, higher advertising revenues and increases in retransmission revenues. Advertising revenue grew 8%, with four of the percentage points from the timing of the semifinals of the NCAA Tournament.
Cable Networks revenues for the first quarter of 2012 increased 15% to $452 million from $393 million for the same prior-year period. The revenue growth was driven by higher licensing revenues from the digital streaming of Showtime original series as well as increases in rates and subscriptions at Showtime Networks and Smithsonian Networks.
Publishing revenues from Simon & Schuster for the first quarter of 2012 increased 14% to $176 million from $155 million for the same prior-year period, reflecting strong growth in the sales of more profitable digital content as well as higher print book sales.
Read the company’s report here.