CBS Corp. boosted profit 8.3% to $343.3 million as growth at its publishing and billboard businesses overcame weakness at its radio unit. The television division posted a 4% rise in operating profit.
Net income for the third quarter came in at .48 cents a share compared with 41 cents a share, or $316.9 million a year ago. Revenue dropped 2.9% to $3.28 billion, reflecting lower television license fees, the absence of the UPN network on the books and the impact of divestitures of TV and radio stations, CBS said in a statement Thursday.
Addressing the issue that threatens to roil the entire TV industry this week, CBS CEO Leslie Moonves said that should there be a writers’ strike, the company is “fully prepared” with plenty of content and expects “no material impact” on the its prime-time performance for the remainder of the young 2007-2008 broadcast season.
At the television business—consisting of the CBS broadcast network, stations, the CBS Paramount Network Television studio, syndicator CBS Television Distribution, Showtime and CSTV—revenue declined 3% to $2.08 billion, reflecting lower license fees and advertising revenue. Those problems were partially offset by higher affiliate revenues.
Television license fees fell 9%, reflecting the timing of foreign syndication and fewer titles available for domestic syndication, the company said. Ad revenue declined 4% as sales of stations and the disappearance of UPN countered other growth.
Affiliate revenue rose 5%, reflecting rate increases and subscriber growth at both Showtime and CSTV.
Operating profit in the TV business rose to $430.9 million primarily due to higher profits from the mix of titles in syndication, ad sales growth and affiliate revenue increases.
CBS Corp. revenue for 2007 likely will dip 2% to 3% as CBS finishes shedding “slower-growth assets,” Mr. Moonves said in a conference call with analysts.