CBS Corp. Sees Q3 Loss of $12.5 Billion

Oct 30, 2008  •  Post A Comment

CBS Corp. reported a third-quarter net loss of $12.5 billion, or $18.58 per share, despite a slight uptick in revenue that came mostly from syndication growth and the acquisition of CNET.
CBS had said earlier in October that it would be taking a $14 billion writedown because of the diminished market valuations of local TV and radio properties due to the turmoil in the markets and the overall economy.
A year ago CBS reported third-quarter profits of $343.3 million, or 48 cents per share.
Excluding the writedown and some other items, CBS said Thursday that it earned 43 cents per share in the third quarter.
Overall revenue for the quarter was up 3% to $3.4 billion.
TV revenue inched up 2% to $2.08 billion, largely attributed to the syndication success of “CSI: NY” and the strength of the “CSI” franchise as a whole internationally, as well as subscriber growth and rate increases at Showtime and CBS College Sports Network.
CBS CEO Leslie Moonves was able to tout the network’s prime-time dominance for the first five weeks of the 2008-09 season. However, the summer ratings slump was significant, especially for networks competing against NBC’s huge Beijing Olympics as well as prime-time coverage of the two presidential nominating conventions and loss of ad opportunities to debate coverage.
Mr. Moonves said the scatter advertising business is “not booming like in past years,” but CBS will be the “beneficiary” in the current market because of its season-opening strength and because it is not having to make good any of its spots.
“We’re the place you want to be if you want to advertise,” said Chief Financial Officer Fred Reynolds.
TV ad revenues for the third quarter decreased 14% year-to-year. TV operating income dropped 17% year-to-year to $368.6 million.
At the outset of the CBS earnings call with analysts Thursday, Chairman Sumner Redstone said Mr. Moonves is managing CBS “prudently.”
Mr. Redstone also said he wanted to make clear that he has “no intention of selling a single [additional] share of Viacom or CBS.” Mr. Redstone recently sold $233 million of non-voting Viacom and CBS stock when his National Amusements Inc. ran into a debt crunch.
He said his “optimism” for CBS or Viacom remains undiminished.
Mr. Moonves stressed that CBS remains committed to a “healthy dividend” and to the strategy of shedding slower-growth properties in favor of faster-growth assets. He said CBS’ free cash flow remains “strong.”
The CEO singled out two of his CBS News stars, “Face the Nation” moderator Bob Schieffer for his work as moderator of the final presidential debate and “Evening News” anchor Katie Couric. “I am very proud of the work Katie Couric has done in this election,” he said, adding that not only had there been a double-digit “surge” of visitors to CBSNews.com, but “we monetized them.”
He also noted ratings growth at The CW and added: “I am happy to report the rumors of The CW’s demise were greatly exaggerated.”


  1. Thank you,
    It’s about time Katie gets some credit for her superior work. She has brought out in this election far more need-to-know-important, vote-changing information than any other anchor. And she is and has been excellent anchor from day 1.

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