CBS rides rough waves


While there weren't any major deals, CBS Corp. was busy rejigging its businesses. The appointment of Dan Mason as CEO of CBS Radio, the soft launch of CBS Films and smaller asset sales and acquisitions all contributed to the continued revamping of the company.

Big personalities also were driving CBS' headlines in 2007 as Katie Couric continued to struggle in the evening news ratings, Don Imus was fired from CBS Radio and Leslie Moonves extended his contract as CBS Corp. president and CEO through 2011.

During the second half, Wall Street increasingly grew concerned about the outlook for the company's CBS network amid the writers strike, a sluggish U.S. economy and other factors that could hurt advertising spending in the new year.

Summary and outlook

Although many on Wall Street cheer CBS Corp. management for navigating a tough market environment and paying dividends, the company's TV unit operating profit was only on par with 2006 for the first three quarters of 2007, and its radio unit was down.

Plus, the company's stock was down 10.8% for the year at $26.95 as of Thursday.

The development of the U.S. economy and ad market will be important factors affecting CBS Corp.'s performance in the new year. Wall Street also will keep an eye on how the WGA strike affects the company.

CBS Radio also remains the center of attention, and Moonves looks ready to hear about improvements.

Also, expect more digital deals by CBS Corp. in 2008.

Georg Szalai