CBS Corp. said first-quarter profit fell nearly 15% owing in part to higher costs for sports and entertainment programming.
The New York owner of the CBS television network and Showtime said net earnings came to $394 million, compared with $462 million in the year-earlier period. Earnings per share, however, were flat at 79 cents per share owing to a reduction in the number of outstanding shares the company had in comparison with the year-earlier period.
Revenue fell about 1.96% to $3.5 billion, compared with $3.57 billion in the year-earlier quarter.
Operating income came to $702 million, compared with $791 million for the year-earlier period, driven by higher investment in sports and entertainment programming. CBS is in the second year of a pact with the National Football League that allows it to show professional football games on some Thursday nights in the fall.
Revenue at the company’s largest operating unit, which houses CBS and its local stations, came to $2.26 billion, compared with $2.30 billion in the year-earlier period. CBS cited the broadcast of an extra NFL playoff game in the year-earlier period as a factor in the dip.
At the company’s cable networks, revenue came to $539 million, compared with $537 million for the year-earlier period. Higher revenues from growth in affiliate rates and from the international licensing of Showtime original series offset lower domestic licensing revenues, CBS said.
Publishing revenues for the first quarter of 2015 came to $145 million, CBS said, compared with $153 million in the year-earlier period, owing to lower print book sales.