CBS Inches Up In Overall Revenue, Ad Revenues Dip

CBS’ TV network advertising scatter pricing is up by double-digit percentage increases in the current fourth-quarter period over the upfront pricing set this past summer. This comes after a slight third-quarter decline in ad revenues.

Joseph Ianniello, COO  for CBS Corp., who made these scatter pricing remarks during CBS' third-quarter financial results analysts' phone call, said the ad results for the period covered a broad range of ad categories.

Ianniello also said Nielsen’s C7 metric -- average commercial rating plus seven days of time-shifted viewing -- is now the “standard” guarantee for national TV advertising, moving from the C3 metric. Ianniello notes that CBS is selling national TV advertising beyond seven days.

NFL programming, both on Sunday and in prime time on Thursday, remains a major focus for the network and media analysts -- especially when it comes to advertising.

With regard to on-field NFL football demonstrations -- as well as some TV viewership declines -- Les Moonves, chairman/CEO of CBS Corp., said during the call: “I don’t think it’s affecting advertising [of the NFL] one iota.”

In the third quarter, CBS saw major gains in retransmission/affiliate fee revenues, but lower advertising sales across all its platforms.

Retransmission, affiliate and subscription fees grew 27% in the period to $1.15 billion. Advertising revenues across all its platforms -- networks, digital and TV stations -- were down 5% to $1.11 billion. Much of this was due to lower political revenues versus the same period the previous year.

The CBS Television Network had a 3% drop in advertising revenues, with one less “Thursday Night Football” game. The network's entertainment division affiliate and subscription fees -- which include CBS TV network, its digital platform CBS All Access and third-party live television streaming offerings -- gained 35%.

CBS’ cable networks grew 40% to $840 million, largely due to Showtime’s Floyd Mayweather/Conor McGregor pay-per-view boxing event. Publishing revenues inched up 1% to $228 million.        

CBS’ Local Media unit -- CBS Television Stations and CBS Local Digital Media -- dipped 3% in revenues to $397 million. CBS had big gains a year ago from strong political advertising sales. The local media business recorded higher retransmission revenues in the current reporting period.

Overall CBS revenues were up $3.2 billion, with net income at $592 million versus $478 million. CBS’ deal to sell its radio division with Entercom is expected to close November 17; it still needs FCC approval.

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