Analyst: Oprah loss won’t be material to CBS


“The Oprah Winfrey Show” draws big ratings in syndication, but analyst Marci Ryvicker at Wells Fargo Securities says it doesn’t really turn a big profit for CBS Television Distribution. So, she isn’t worried about the coming end to the show having much financial impact on CBS Corporation.

“We believe that the loss of Oprah (which is syndicated through CBS) will not be a significant financial drag on CBS. For one, Oprah has had a marginal contribution to EBITDA as most of the value of Oprah has gone to the talk show host herself rather than to her distributors. We believe that a 1% increase in advertising will offset any potential loss of this revenue stream,” Ryviucker said in a note Friday.

In addition, there’s the potential impact on the network O&Os. Most of the really big market stations carrying “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” including flagship WLS-TV Chicago, are owned and operated by Disney’s ABC. That dates back to Winfrey’s syndication by King World before it was acquired by CBS. So, the analyst figures, CBS may actually see a ratings boost on its O&O stations during the Winfrey talk show time slot as the ABC O&Os “will certainly wane.”