CBS Corp., split off from Viacom last year by chairman Sumner Redstone, swung to a profit in the fourth quarter as earnings at the company’s television business increased 24 percent.
The company posted a profit of $335 million, compared with a loss last year, and revenue rose 2 percent to $3.88 billion, CBS Corp. said last week in its earnings release.
CBS Corp.’s television operations, which provide the biggest slice of the media company’s revenue, posted a 3 percent increase in sales, primarily attributable to higher license fees from its CBS Television Distribution unit and revenue from affiliates. The television unit also includes the CBS broadcast network, the company’s TV station group, Showtime Networks, CSTV Networks and the CBS Paramount Network Television studio.
Television license fees increased 45 percent, primarily due to second-cycle sales of “Star Trek: Voyager” on cable. Affiliate revenues increased 9 percent due to rate increases and subscriber growth at Showtime.
Advertising sales rose slightly, with higher revenue from political ads being dampened by the lack of income from UPN, which was bundled into the new CW network.
“CBS’s fourth-quarter results capped off a strong first year as a stand-alone company,” said CBS Corp. President and Chief Executive Officer Leslie Moonves in a statement. “Strong fourth-quarter operating results at television, outdoor and publishing helped us surpass our key financial targets for the year.”
During the earnings conference call, Mr. Moonves touted CBS gaining retransmission fees for content, reshaping the company’s portfolio and strong ratings from CBS.
“Our real strength lies in the depth and consistency of our successful shows,” he said.