CBS shares are up in post market trading after it reported the ambitious stock repurchase plan — bringing Q1 buying to $2B — and Q4 results that exceeded forecasts just about everywhere except in local broadcasting and its billboard operation. The company generated net earnings of $470M, +19.6% vs the period last year, on revenues of $3.91B, +5.8%. The top line exceeded predictions for $3.82B. Adjusted earnings at 78 cents a share topped the consensus estimate for 76 cents. The Entertainment unit, which includes the CBS network and stations, drove the results with revenues +11% to $2.21B and cash flow (measured by operating income before depreciation and amortization) +27% to $418M. The company says much of the increase was due to a rise in sales of re-runs including Hawaii Five-0, Blue Bloods, and Elementary into domestic syndication along with other deals with streaming services. Ad sales at the TV network were up 4%. At Cable Networks, which includes Showtime, revenues were up 9% to $477M with cash flow +8% to $199M. Here, too, the company benefited from licensing deals along with increases in Showtime’s rates and subscriptions. CBS’ local TV and radio stations couldn’t match late 2012 which included election advertising: Local Broadcasting revenues fell 9% to $719M — TV was -12% and radio -4% — with cash flow down 19% to $263M. If you factor out the political ads, local TV would have been +9%. Meanwhile, the Simon & Schuster publishing unit was helped by the odd bedfellow combination of Rush Limbaugh (with Rush Revere And The Brave Pilgrims) and Doris Kearns Goodwin (The Bully Pulpit). Revenues were up 5% to $225M with cash flow +19% to $37M. And at CBS Outdoor, which the company plans to spin off this quarter, revenues were +2% to $347M with cash flow +28% to $120M. Once the IPO takes place, CBS will be “much closer to a pure content Company, with about half of our revenue coming from steady and recurring sources,” CEO Les Moonves says. “Looking ahead, we are extremely excited about all the opportunities that we have in the marketplace that’s exploding with new ways to engage with the best content.”
Here’s how the revenue mix looks:
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