CBS Delivers Mixed Q3 Results In Last Quarter As Stand-Alone Company

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CBS delivered a mixed set of third-quarter results, with earnings per share of 95 cents on an adjusted basis exceeding Wall Street analysts’ consensus forecast by two cents.

Revenue grew just 1% to $3.3 billion, which did not clear the $3.37 billion bar set by analysts.

It is expected to be the final quarter of results for CBS as an independent company before the CBSViacom merger closes in early December. Viacom will report its quarterly numbers on Thursday.

Adjusted operating income fell 21% to $581 million from $736 million for the same period in 2018, with costs related to the Viacom merger and increased spending on programming taking a bite.

Advertising revenues decreased 5% from the third quarter of 2018, which the company blamed on the timing of the broadcast of certain sporting events plus a 19-day carriage dispute with AT&T. Underlying CBS Network advertising revenues increased 2% for the quarter.

Acting CBS CEO Joe Ianniello flagged several areas of strength in the official earnings release. Direct-to-consumer revenue from the CBS All Access and Showtime streaming services gained 39% over the same quarter a year ago, a surge the exec credited to original programming.

Revenue from retransmission consent, reverse compensation and virtual MVPD carriage increased 18%. Total affiliate and subscription fees rose 12%.

“We continue to increase our investment in our premium content and direct-to-consumer streaming services, which is the cornerstone of our growth strategy,” Ianniello said. “We are building great momentum as we near our merger with Viacom and head into 2020.”

CBS stock has dropped more than 17% since the Viacom merger was announced in August. It began Tuesday trading at $39.18 a share.

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