Cable TV

Q3-2015: Cable Networks & Broadcasting revenues pull down CBS Corp revenue 3.3%

BENGALURU: CBS Corporation (CBS) reported a 3.3 per cent decline in revenue to $3,257 million in the quarter ended 30 September, 2015 (Q3-2015, current quarter) as compared to the $3,367 million reported for the corresponding year ago quarter. Revenue pulled down because of decline in revenue of two of its four segments - Cable Networks; and Broadcasting, which saw declines of 15.6 per cent and 6.2 per cent respectively in Q3-2015 as compared to Q3-2104.


CBS’s other segments-Entertainment and Publishing saw revenue growths of 1.1 per cent and two per cent respectively, but not enough to prevent the YoY slide in revenue.


From the type perspective, CBS’s Advertising revenue and Content Licensing & Distribution revenues declined by 4.3 per cent and 8.3 per cent respectively, while Affiliate and Subscription fee revenue increased 9.2 per cent.


CBS Total Operating Income for Q3-2015 increased 12.7 per cent to $753 million in the current quarter as compared to $668 million in the corresponding year ago quarter.


“Thanks to the strength of our great content, CBS continues to have a winning hand,” said CBS executive chairman Sumner Redstone. “Les and his team are capitalising on all of the opportunities before us, and I’m confident they are setting the company up for continued, long-term growth.”


“During the third quarter, we once again grew our profit and EPS while continuing to increase our investment in content and new distribution services,” said CBS president and CEO Leslie Moonves. “I’m particularly pleased with the gains we’re seeing in network advertising, including underlying ad growth in the third quarter and even better pricing here in the fourth. Plus, having sold less inventory in the upfront, we stand to benefit throughout this television season as we sell our #1 network in a very robust scatter marketplace. Add to that CBS’s broadcast of Super Bowl 50 in February and the upcoming presidential election, you can see why we feel very good about advertising in 2016. At the same time, our non-advertising revenue continues to grow even faster, led by retransmission consent and reverse compensation, which were up 50 per cent in the third quarter and are well on their way to exceeding $1 billion next year. Looking ahead, as viewers increasingly want to access and pay for content in new ways, we see continued increases in subscription revenue from our in-house over-the-top services at CBS and Showtime, as well as those from outside distribution partners. The good news is, no matter how quickly the industry changes — from big bundles to 'skinny' ones to a la carte — CBS is positioned to succeed.”


CBS says that lower YoY revenues in Q3-2015 primarily reflect the timing of television licensing sales and decreases in lower-margin revenues, including the non-renewal of a sports contract and lower pay-per-view revenues. Revenues for Q3-2015 benefited from growth in underlying network advertising, as well as 9 per cent higher affiliate and subscription fees, including a 50 per cent increase in revenues from retransmission consent and CBS Television Network-affiliated television stations.


The company says that YoY increase in operating income in the current quarter reflects growth in high-margin affiliate and subscription fee revenues, which were offset by lower profits from television licensing.


Segment numbers


Entertainment (CBS Television Network, CBS Television Studios, CBS Global Distribution Group, CBS

Interactive, and CBS Films)


Entertainment revenues in Q3-2015 rose to $1.93 billion as compared with $1.91 billion for the same prior-year period, primarily reflecting a 55 per cent increase in affiliate and subscription fees. Network advertising revenues were up one per cent despite the broadcast of fewer sporting events on the CBS Television Network. Content licensing and distribution revenues decreased three per cent, primarily reflecting the timing of television licensing sales.


Entertainment operating income for Q3-2015 of 2015 was $339 million, up 12 per cent YoY from $302 million, driven by growth in higher margin revenues, which were partially offset by an increased investment in programming and digital distribution initiatives says CBS.


Cable Networks (Showtime Networks, CBS Sports Network, and Smithsonian Networks)


Cable Networks revenues for the current quarter were $526 million compared with $624 million for Q3-2014, which included significant domestic streaming sales of Dexter and Californication and higher revenues from pay-per-view boxing events. An increase in affiliate and subscription fees, reflecting growth in rates and revenues from new digital distribution platforms, partially offset the decline.


Cable Networks operating income for Q3-2015 was $246 million compared with $266 million Q3-2014, primarily reflecting the lower revenues. The decline was partially offset by lower programming costs that were mainly associated with pay-per-view boxing events.


Publishing (Simon & Schuster)


Publishing revenue for Q3-2015 was $203 million compared to $199 million for Q3-2014. Digital revenues represented 25 per cent of Publishing’s total revenues for Q3-2015. Bestselling titles included The Survivorby Vince Flynn and Kyle Mills and Plunder and Deceit by Mark R. Levin, as well as the continued success of the Pulitzer Prize-winning 2014 release, All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr.


Publishing operating income of $43 million for Q3- 2015 increased two per cent from $42 million in the

Q3-2014, primarily reflecting the revenue increases.


Local Broadcasting (CBS Television Stations and CBS Radio)


Local Broadcasting revenue was $638 million for Q3-2015 as compared to $680 million in Q3-2014. CBS Television Stations YoY revenues declined as a result of the benefit to 2014 from the midterm elections and the broadcast of fewer sporting events on CBS in 2015. Growth in affiliate fees partially offset the decline. CBS Radio revenues decreased six per cent, reflecting several non-comparable items, including fewer stations and lower political revenues, as well as continued softness in the radio advertising marketplace.


Local Broadcasting operating income for Q3-2015 was down 9 per cent to $174 million from $192 million in Q3-2014, primarily because of the revenue decline, which was partially offset by the recent cost-cutting measures CBS put in place.

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