CBS' Ad Base Holds Steady, Retrans Sees Uptick
Against some tougher 2010 comparisons, CBS Corp. achieved slightly better revenue and advertising results for its businesses in 2011.
For the fourth quarter of 2011, CBS' total advertising revenue -- network, cable, radio and outdoor -- grew 5% to $2.6 billion. For the year as a whole, CBS inched up 2% in total advertising revenue to $9.2 billion.
Advertising revenues for its entertainment divisions -- CBS Televison Network, its syndication and interactive businesses -- were essentially flat in the fourth quarter of 2011 versus the same period in 2010.
Looking at overall entertainment revenue for the CBS Televison Network, its studios, distribution, CBS Films and its interactive business, the company had a 1% gain to $7.5 billion for the year despite big returns from advertising revenues in the 2010 for the Super Bowl and higher advertising revenues from the NCAA College Basketball Tournament. In 2011, a new agreement had CBS sharing the college tournament games with TNT.
For the fourth quarter, entertainment revenue dropped 1% to $2.0 billion, mostly due to unfavorable comparisons to the fourth quarter of 2010, when CBS recorded the second-cycle syndication sales of "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.
CBS says revenue growth for the year was driven by new licensing programming agreements for digital streaming, growth in underlying advertising revenues for the CBS Television Network and higher retrans revenues
CBS' local broadcasting -- TV and radio stations -- were subject to lower political advertising revenues. It witnessed a 12% drop in revenue overall to $721 million in the fourth quarter. CBS TV stations declined 18% in revenue; CBS radio revenues decreased 5%. All local broadcast CBS stations were hurt as a result of lost revenues from missing early-season games due to the NBC lockout. Both TV and radio, however, saw gains in automotive advertising
For its cable networks -- CBS Sports Network, Showtime Network, and the Smithsonian Networks -- revenues for the fourth quarter of 2011 improved 7% to $395 million from $368 million. Much of this came from rate increases and growth in subscriptions.
Outdoor revenues for the fourth quarter of 2011 increased 1% to $514 million, with publishing revenues also slipping 1% to $229 million in the period.
Overall, CBS's net earnings gained 31% to $370 million for the quarter, and almost double for the year, $1.3 billion versus $724 million. Revenues for the quarter inched up to $3.9 billion from $3.8 billion. Revenue for 2011 rose to $14.2 billion from $14.1 billion.