CBS Corp. said third quarter net income fell as a result of higher programming investment and several one-time charges, even as revenue rose slightly.
Net income from continuing operations tumbled to $72 million, or 13 cents per share, in the period, compared with $431 million, or 70 cents per share, a year earlier. The company cited higher costs associated with TV programming, including the addition of new NFL games on Thursday nights.
But the quarter included several non-recurring events. Including a $1.56 billion gain related to a spinoff of CBS Outdoor, CBS had a profit of $1.64 billion or $3.03 a share, compared with $494 million, or 80 cents a share in the year-earlier period. The current quarter also included charges related to restructuring, a radio-station swap and other items. Excluding those charges, earnings from continuing operations would have come to 74 cents a share.
The New York broadcaster of “CSI” and “The Big Bang Theory” said revenue in the period increased 2% to $3.37 billion, compared with $3.30 billion in the year-earlier period. CBS cited growth in revenue from licensing content to others. Advertising revenue rose 2%, mainly due to sponsorships attached to CBS’ new Thursday-night football games and the recent build-up to political elections.
Revenue from the company’s entertainment assets, its largest grouping, came to $1.91 billion in the third quarter, up 1% from $1.88 billion in the year-earlier period. CBS said higher television licensing, affiliate and subscription fees were partially offset by softness in the overall advertising marketplace.
Revenue from the company’s cable operations came to $624 million, up 5% from $596 million in the year-earlier period. The company said it saw an increase in revenues from the licensing of Showtime original series, as well
as gains in affiliate revenues from higher rates at Showtime Networks, CBS Sports Network, and Smithsonian Networks. Revenue growth was partially offset by lower pay-per-view revenues.
CBS CEO Leslie Moonves articulated a company eager to wring more profit from production of more content, which it could then monetize through advertising, and more increasingly, through syndication. Moonves said CBS stood to benefit from the launch of new hosts in its late night programs in 2015. At present, those shows are controlled by David Letterman’s production shingle, Worldwide Pants. Rights to “The Late Show” and “The Late Late Show” will revert to CBS as James Corden and Stephen Colbert succeed Craig Ferguson and Letterman, respectively.