CBS posts profit of $335 mn in fourth quarter

MUMBAI: US media conglomerate CBS has recorded a profit in the fourth quarter from a year ago period.

This included a major charge to write down the value of its television and radio businesses

CBS reported net income of $335 million, or 43 cents per share, in the October-December period. A year ago, the company reported a loss of $9.14 billion, or $12 per share. That included a charge of $9.48 billion for the asset impairment.

Operating income for the quarter is up 14 to per cent to $759.3 million. For the year revenues were $14.3 billion. This marked an increase of one per cent from the prior year, with increases of two per cent at television, eight per cent at outdoor and six per cent at publishing. This was partially offset by a decline of seven per cent at radio.

For the year, television revenues increased by two per cent to $9.5 billion from 2005 primarily reflecting increases in television license fees and affiliate revenues partially offset by lower home entertainment and advertising revenues. Television license fees increased by 26 per cent primarily due

to the 2006 availabilities of CSI: Miami, Frasier, Star Trek: Voyager and Without A Trace.

This was partially offset by the absence of license fees from the prior year second- cycle cable renewal of Everybody Loves Raymond. Affiliate revenues increased eight per cent due to rate increases and subscriber growth at Showtime and the inclusion of the results of CSTV Networks since its acquisition in January 2006. Ad revenues decreased by one per cent from 2005 as higher political ad sales were more than offset by lower revenues from the absence of UPN and decreases at CBS Network.

Home entertainment revenues decreased by 68 per cent principally due to the switch from self-distribution in 2005 to third party distribution in 2006.

CBS executive chairman Sumner Redstone says, "CBS' first year out of the gate was a great one. Our strong performance in the fourth quarter and full year of 2006 is the result of strategic vision and operational excellence. Leslie and his team are building our existing businesses to capitalise on the digital revolution and to position CBS for continued success well into the future."

CBS president and CEO Leslie Moonves says, "CBS' fourth quarter results capped off a strong first year as a stand-alone company, Strong fourth quarter operating results at television, outdoor and publishing helped us surpass our key financial targets for the year.

"Looking forward, we will continue to focus on running our core operations effectively; reshaping our portfolio into better-margin, higher-growth businesses; using the interactive opportunity to deepen and broaden our relationship with audiences; and receiving compensation for our content through retransmission consent agreements and new interactive platforms.

" I am confident that the company is well positioned to deliver long-term growth, strong cash flow, and increased value for our shareholders."

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