CBS Corp.'s First Earnings Offer Few Surprises
Net earnings from continuing operations inched up 1 percent to $227 million. CBS radio was the big drag on its results, with operating income down 14 percent to $163 million. Radio revenue fell 6 percent to $435 million.
Much of this came from a loss of advertising dollars as a result of Howard Stern's highly publicized departure to Sirius Satellite Radio. CBS has already replaced Stern's East Coast David Lee Roth, who has also since departed. Stern's West Coast replacement, Adam Carolla, is doing better than Roth--but not big Stern-like numbers. And CBS says overall radio advertising market revenues have hurt the business as well.
On the brighter side, modest gains were made by its TV and outdoor businesses. TV operating income was up 3 percent to $383 million, with revenues climbing 5 percent to $2.5 billion. Much of these positive results came from second-round syndication license sales of "Frasier" to TV stations from the company's Paramount Domestic Television unit.
TV gains were made with CBS broadcast network rerun programming during February against NBC's Torino Winter Olympics. More than a few analysts have suggested that CBS could have produced bigger results and advertising gains had it run new programming during February. Other networks such as ABC--and especially Fox with "American Idol"--bested NBC's Olympics programming.
Outdoor business skyrocketed 43 percent, as the company revamped old existing advertising contracts
Overall, there was positive news on the cash flow front--about which Les Moonves, chief executive officer of CBS Corp., took time to crow about. Cash flow was up 12 percent to $585 million.
In a press call to company analysts and journalists, Moonves also offered a peek into how its new digital platform deals are faring. He said CBS' Verizon Communications deal--in which the telecommunications company will run CBS programming and clips on its mobile phones--is estimated to bring in about $3 million in revenue in 2006.