CBS Registers 11% Rev Gains, Retrans To $250M By '13

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Higher TV show licensing revenues and continued growth in advertising helped lift CBS Corp. to big financial gains in its fourth-quarter reporting period.

Net income rose more than four times to $283.0 million from $58.8 in the fourth quarter of 2009. Revenues gained 11% to $3.9 billion.

Entertainment revenues rose 11% to $2.02 billion. A big part of this was a 29% gain in television license fees, driven by the second-cycle syndication sale of "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation."

Network advertising was 8% higher in the period from prime time and sports programming. Better growth was achieved at CBS Interactive with a 18% gain in display advertising. Total advertising sales -- including its TV stations -- improved 12%.

Local TV stations continued their strong growth, up 21% to $821.5 million. CBS Television Stations had a 28% gain in ad revenues -- with automotive and financial services, as well as higher political ad sales, being key growth categories. CBS Radio ad revenues improved 14%, its best results of the year.

Leslie Moonves, president/CEO of CBS, told analysts in an earnings call that the company should reach $250 million retrans dollars in two years. But he didn't say how much it expects to get from its affiliates in deals from their reverse compensation revenues.

CBS' cable networks -- which include Showtime and CBS Sports Network -- grew 6% to $368.3 million. Showtime Networks (which includes Showtime, The Movie Channel and Flix) subscriptions totaled 67.1 million, up by 5.8 million -- largely as a result of better satellite and telco video distribution sales. CBS College Sports Network gained 4.3 million to 39.1 million.

CBS' publishing division -- Simon & Schuster -- climbed 5% to $231.7 million, aided by best-selling titles in the fourth quarter such as "Broke" by Glenn Beck and "Full Dark, No Stars" by Stephen King.

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