CBS Posts Strong Q1 Ad Revs, Political Spend Ramps Up

CBS says its core advertising grew by a strong double-digit percentage in its first-quarter reporting period. The network predicts a big upfront ad-selling period this summer.

CBS core advertising -- excluding special TV programming --- was up 12%, driven by big scatter TV ad deals. 

When adding the CBS Television Network’s “Super Bowl” broadcast in February and additional NFL games, CBS’ ad revenues grew a massive 31%. Total CBS advertising climbed to $2.34 billion from $1.78 billion.

Les Moonves, chairman/CEO of CBS, stated: “Advertising is poised for even more growth in the back half of the year, as political spending ramps up.”

With regard to the upfront marketplace, Moonves said the network is in a good position because of its stability of viewership of its prime-time programming and “a robust advertising marketplace.”



Advertising at the CBS Television Network was up 49% during the period -- and its core advertising (without the Super Bowl or extra NFL games) -- climbed 12%.

CBS’ affiliate and subscription fee revenues rose 15% to $722 million. This came from 42% higher retransmission revenues, fees from CBS Television Network affiliated stations and revenues from new digital distribution platforms. 

CBS’ content licensing and distribution revenues sank 29% to $729 million, reflecting the timing of domestic and international television licensing sales. 

Local TV and radio revenues were up 9% to $649 million, with an 18% increase from CBS TV stations due to big ad revenue gains from “Super Bowl 50,” higher political advertising sales and growing retrans revenues. Radio revenues declined 2%.

Although CBS didn’t release details of its new OTT services, Moonves said CBS All Access and its Showtime service were making “meaningful” contributions.

Overall, CBS revenues grew 10% to $3.85 billion, with net earnings adding 20% to $473 million. CBS stock closed on Tuesday down 1.6% to $55.57. After hours trading -- when CBS released its financial earnings -- CBS stock rose nearly 2%.

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