CBS sees stellar Q1 results | Major Businesses | Business
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CBS’ online efforts helped offset declining viewership at its broadcast network in the first quarter, with revenue and profit both handily surpassing analyst expectations.

moonves 5 may 2018Revenue rose 13% to $3.76 billion, compared with $3.43 billion in the year-earlier period – a result of advertising, content licensing and affiliate fees all rising in the period. Meanwhile it earned $511 million in the first quarter, compared with a loss of $252 million a year ago.

Advertising revenues rose 8%, including results from the Network Ten Australian network that CBS acquired. Content licensing and distribution revenues spiked 18%, thanks to international licensing of new series and library programming. And affiliate fees and subscriptions rose 16%, led by higher retransmission fees gathered from local TV stations and streaming revenue.

The CBD broadcast network didn’t fare as well: Ad revenue there rose just 1%; meanwhile, viewership of the CBS national broadcast network has fallen 8% this year, meaning that the network has ceded first place in ratings to NBC, which got a push in the quarter from the Super Bowl and the Olympics.

However, CBS-owned OTT services All Access and Showtime are on target to reach 8 million subscribers by 2020.

“In an era where others are concerned about losing subscribers caused by cord-cutting and other matters, CBS is growing its subscribers,” CBS CEO Les Moonves said on a call with analysts. He added that it’s “not enough to win now. We must also strategically position ourselves to win for many years to come.”

CBS stock climbed 6% on the back of the earnings to reach $51.66 per share on Friday, the largest intraday gain since June 2014.

Meanwhile, Viacom is still courting CBS for a merger, and has made no secret that it wants Moonves at the helm. The talks between the two have hit an impasse however regarding the line of succession; Moonves wants CBS COO Joseph Ianniello will be president and chief operating officer of the combined companies, and to succeed him as CEO when he retires. The Redstone family, which controls Viacom, instead wants Viacom CEO Bob Bakish to be the No 2 and succeed Moonves when the time comes.

Sources told Reuters on Friday that Shari Redstone, daughter of retired Viacom mogul Sumner Redstone, has offered to drop demands for Bakish to have a role beyond being on the combined company’s board.