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CBS Corp. reports 6% rise in fourth-quarter profit

February 14, 2013|By Meg James
  • CBS Corp.'s fourth-quarter profit rose compared with a year earlier but fell short of analyst expectations. Above, CEO Leslie Moonves in May.
CBS Corp.'s fourth-quarter profit rose compared with a year earlier… (Evan Agostini / Associated…)

Broadcasting giant CBS Corp. reported 6.2% higher profit for the fourth quarter of 2012, boosted by higher advertising at the top-rated CBS television network and an increase in subscriber fees for its premium channel Showtime.

For the quarter that ended Dec. 31, CBS earned $393 million, or 60 cents a share, up from $370 million, or 55 cents, in the fourth quarter of 2011.

Revenue was up 2%, to $3.7 billion.

CBS delivered adjusted net earnings of $414 million, or 64 cents a share, up from $377 million during the year-earlier period -- falling short of analysts' estimates of 68 cents a share.

Nonetheless, CBS posted a record fourth quarter. The company's bottom line was boosted by increases in fees paid by cable operators to retransmit CBS' broadcast signal and revenue from its Internet streaming deals. CBS' shows are in demand by such services as Netflix and Amazon.com.

The company's main engine -- advertising revenue -- was up 3%, to $2.4 billion.

CBS had approached the 2012 political season with hopes of raking in hundreds of millions of dollars in campaign cash. The company came away with nearly $180 million, a record amount for a presidential election year but not as high as some expectations. Presidential candidates concentrated their spending in Ohio, Florida, Colorado, Nevada, Virginia and Pennsylvania, places where CBS owns just a few TV stations.

The company's entertainment division, which includes the flagship CBS broadcast network and its television and film production studios, collected $1.99 billion in revenue, down slightly from the nearly $2 billion during the fourth quarter of 2011. 

Cable networks Showtime, TMC and CBS Sports performed better, generating $438 million in revenue. That was up nearly 11% from the year-earlier period, which brought in $395 million.

The Simon & Schuster publishing house generated $215 million -- down 6% from the year-earlier period, when the CBS division released the Steve Jobs biography.

Local TV and radio stations saw a 9% revenue gain -- boosted by political spending -- bringing in $787 million. That compared with $721 million in the fourth quarter of 2011.

CBS released its earnings report just after the close of regular stock trading Thursday. Its shares lost value in after-hours trading. Its stock had closed the regular trading sessions at $42.94 a share, up 0.6%. 

CBS shares are up about 13% so far this year.

CBS also said it would buy back an additional $1 billion of its non-voting Class B common stock this year, nearly doubling its earlier commitment to retire shares to return value to shareholders.

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