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CBS posts 15.7% profit increase in third quarter

November 07, 2012|By Meg James
  • Leslie Moonves, president and chief executive officer of CBS Corp., speaks at a "Captains of Industry" event at the 92nd Street Y in New York, U.S., on Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012.
Leslie Moonves, president and chief executive officer of CBS Corp., speaks… (Peter Foley )

Higher fees for programming boosted broadcasting giant CBS Corp. to a solid third quarter with 15.7% growth in profit.

For the period that ended Sept. 30, the company reported net earnings of $391 million, or 60 cents a share, up from $338 million, or 50 cents a share, during the third quarter of 2011. 

The earnings matched Wall Street analysts' forecasts.

"CBS is keeping its streak with another quarter of record-breaking results," Chief Executive Leslie Moonves said Wednesday in a conference call with analysts.

Revenue increased 2% to $3.42 billion compared with a year earlier. The growth largely came from an 8% increase in content licensing and distribution revenue, CBS said Wednesday.

Cable TV subscription revenue grew 12%, also reflecting higher fees and an increase in subscribers.  CBS Corp. owns a cable sports network and premium channel Showtime in addition to the flagship CBS broadcast network, TV and radio stations, and the Simon & Schuster publishing house.

Wall Street analysts who view CBS as a bellwether for advertising spending might be disappointed.  Advertising revenue for the New York media behemoth slipped 3%. 

Nearly 60% of the company's revenue comes from advertising.

The CBS network had a bit of a tough quarter as it struggled to compete with rival NBC, which was flying high with its broadcasts of the London Olympics. CBS also blamed the Republican and Democratic national conventions, which took place over  six nights in August and September, for a dip in ad revenue. 

However, the company's fourth quarter should benefit from the bounty of political ad dollars in the presidential election. CBS, however, owns few TV stations in the key battleground states of Ohio, Colorado, Virginia and Nevada -- where advertising was especially heavy -- which could depress its overall haul.

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