CBS on Wednesday reported third-quarter earnings that mostly matched the projections of analysts, including 76 cents per share in adjusted earnings and $3.63 billion in revenue.
Wall Street was expecting 76 cents per share in adjusted earnings on roughly $3.62 billion in revenue. In the same quarter a year ago, CBS earned an adjusted 64 cents per share on revenue of $3.27 billion.
The financial report is the first from CBS since its dispute with Time Warner Cable resulted in a monthlong blackout, which analysts predicted would negatively — albeit mildly — reduce revenue generated from the sale of local TV station advertising.
The company also faced difficult comparisons due to a large amount of advertising revenue tied to last year’s presidential election. Shows like Under the Dome and NFL On CBS helped make up the difference this time around, though.
CBS executive chairman Sumner Redstone appeared only briefly on a conference call with analysts to praise the quarterly performance, and his voice sounded very fragile while doing so.
Redstone quickly ceded time to CEO Les Moonves, who said CBS just experienced its “best third-quarter in history.”
Moonves said the fight with Time Warner Cable had no negative impact on earnings and that retransmission fees have gone up 50 percent year-to-date, with more increases to come.
He lamented that the dispute with Time Warner Cable didn’t end quicker and more “peaceably,” but said CBS ultimately benefited from the outcome of the hostile negotiations, given that it successfully raised its fees while hanging on to the digital rights to its content.
Shares of CBS fell fractionally during the regular session on Wednesday and sunk fractionally after the closing bell, as well.
Moonves also said that mid-term elections will be a windfall for CBS, given the heated rhetoric in Washington. “Rancor equals revenue,” he said.
The company’s entertainment segment showed a 12 percent increase in revenue to $1.9 billion led by NCIS: Los Angeles and The Good Wife.
The cable networks segment reported a 37 percent rise in revenue led by Dexter on Showtime and a Floyd Mayweather pay-per-view boxing event.
Publishing showed a 7 percent revenue increase to $224 million reflecting the surging in popularity of digital books.
Local broadcasting saw a 3 percent decrease in revenue to $641 million due to the dearth of political advertising compared to a year ago.
The company’s outdoor advertising segment showed 2 percent growth to $341 million in revenue.