Leslie Moonves - CBS

Eye seeks more opportunities for streaming deals

CBS Corp. said earnings per share rose 12% in its second quarter  as the broadcaster of such hits as “NCIS” and “The Big Bang Theory” enjoyed a surge of revenue from the online streaming of its programming as well as an increase in advertising revenue.

Overall, net earnings came to $472 million, up from $427 million. Diluted earnings per share came to 76 cents per share , up from  65 cents per share in the year-earlier period.

The New York owner of CBS and Showtime said revenue increased 11% to $3.7 billion, up from $3.33 billion in the year-earlier period. Ad revenue, the bulk of the company’s business,  rose to $2.09 billion from nearly $2 billion in the year-earlier period. The company said advertising revenue rose 5%, owing to the timing of NCAA Division 1 Semifinals, which aired in the second quarter this year instead of the first quarter and some increases in advertising at its flagship network

CBS also saw a 22% increase in content licensing and distribution revenue, which was driven by digital streaming and international syndication. Revenue rose to $997 million in the period, compared with $816 million in the year-earlier quarter. Meanwhile, affiliate and subscription-fee  revenues rose 18%, to $549 million from $465 million. The company cited  a pay-per-view boxing event, and growth from re transmission  revenues and fees from CBS Television Network affiliated television stations.

In a conference call with investors, CBS Corp.  CEO Leslie Moonves said he expected more streaming deals to take place in the near future as more players sought to increase this new means of content distribution. “We are constantly having discussions with them about monetizing our content,” he said.

While revenue at the company’s entertainment operations and cable networks rose, they were flat at CBS’s book-publishing operations, standing at $189 million. CBS said growth in digital book sales was offset by lower print book sales. Digital book sales increased 39% from the  year-earlier quarter and represented 29% of the publishing segment’s total revenues, compared  with 21% for the second quarter of 2012.

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