Shares are down about 1.5% in initial post-market trading after the company reported mixed results for the first three months of the year. Net income at $468M was up 1.1% vs the period last year on revenues of $3.86B, -4.6%. The top line fell short of the $3.92B that analysts expected. But earnings at 78 cents a share topped forecasts for 75 cents. CBS says that last year’s results included $280M from its Super Bowl broadcast, and benefited from two additional NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship games. Their absence cut 11 percentage points from revenues at the main Entertainment unit, where revenues fell 9.3% to $2.3B with operating income -4.6% to $420M. Overseas sales helped to boost content licensing and distribution revenues 6%.
Cable networks, which include Showtime, more than held their own helped by licensing deals for original series and higher rates. Revenues here increased 12.3% to $537M with operating income +11.9% to $254M. But bestselling book titles Rush Revere And The First Patriots and The Women Of Duck Commander weren’t enough to lift revenues at the Simon & Schuster publishing unit. Sales fell 10.5% to $153M with operating income up $1M to $11M.
CEO Les Moonves says that he is “confident we are still in the early innings of our terrific growth story.” Later, “with even stronger programming to sell to advertisers, political spending heating up later this year, and new deals coming down the pike in retransmission consent and reverse compensation, we see the back half of 2014 even stronger than the first — and we are positioned for another record year.”