CBS TV Station 1Q Revenue Rises 1%

The growth was led by increases in key advertising categories, including automotive, financial services and travel and leisure as well as retrans revenue.

CBS Corp. reported results for the first quarter ended March 31, on Tuesday afternoon that included Local Broadcasting division revenue of $621 million, a 2% increase from $606 million for the same prior-year period, primarily driven by higher advertising sales and higher retransmission revenues. That $621 million figure includes the company’s radio stations.

CBS said that “despite the difficult comparison to the first quarter of 2010, which included the benefit to the CBS television stations from the 2010 Super Bowl broadcast, higher political advertising sales and revenues from a television station that was sold in August 2010, CBS Television Stations revenues increased 1%, reflecting growth in many key advertising categories, including automotive, financial services and travel and leisure.”

The Entertainment division (CBS Television Network, CBS Television Studios, CBS Studios International, CBS Television Distribution, CBS Films and CBS Interactive) revenue for the first quarter decreased 4% to $1.99 billion from $2.08 billion for the same prior-year period, reflecting the absence of the 2010 broadcast of Super Bowl XLIV on the CBS Television Network and the impact of the new, more profitable, programming agreement for the NCAA Tournament beginning in 2011. Underlying results reflect the benefit to network sports and primetime advertising of higher pricing as well as higher content licensing and distribution revenues driven by increased domestic syndication sales.

“Across the board, this was an exceptionally strong quarter for CBS, giving us a tremendous start in 2011,” said Leslie Moonves, president-CEO, CBS Corp. “Our first quarter performance was driven by strong underlying advertising revenue growth and increases in non-advertising revenue streams, as we continue to maximize the value of CBS’s world-class content. In addition, the strategic actions taken to strengthen our business model, including CBS Television’s new NCAA agreement, have helped deliver yet another consecutive quarter of year-over-year margin expansion. We are particularly pleased with our substantial free cash flow generation, and we remain committed to returning a substantial portion of this cash to shareholders through the combination of share repurchases and dividends. Looking ahead, we have great momentum heading into this year’s upfront marketplace, and we continue to enter into lucrative retransmission, syndication and online distribution deals. As we increasingly capitalize on these opportunities, we are confident that we will drive growth over the long term by focusing on our strategy to drive higher recurring revenue streams and diversify our businesses while delivering value to our shareholders.”

Read the company’s report here.

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