Despite the tough economy, CBS Corporation managed to grow Q2 revenues by 1% to $3.4 billion. Net earnings rose 1% as well to $408 million. And, since the company has been buying back shares, earnings per share shot up 11% to 61 cents per share. CEO Les Moonves noted strength in international TV syndication and the CBS Outdoor business. But he said the company was challenged by the economy, particularly in its local businesses – that’s the radio station group and O&O TV station group.
Radio revenues were down 10% (9% on a same station basis) for the quarter to $416.4 million. Operating income before depreciation and amortization (OIBDA) dropped 15% to $158.6 million, due to lower ad sales and some station divestitures, counterbalanced by cost-cutting.
Television revenues increased 2% to $2.2 billion. TV license fees shot up 35%, driven by higher syndication sales, particularly on the international level. Affiliate fees increased 5% due to rate increases and subscriber growth at Showtime Networks and CBS College Sports Networks, the company’s cable nets. TV ad revenues, however, fell 6%, blamed on the timing of this year’s NCAA basketball playoff and softness in local ad sales at the O&O TV stations. Auto was the softest category, counterbalanced somewhat by political gains. CBS does not break out its O&O TV group separately, but CFO Fred Reynolds confirmed that revenues were down from Q2 of a year ago. TV OIBDA fell 10% to $495.6 million.
Outdoor revenues increased 8% to $598.1 million and OIBDA decreased 9% to $153.6 million.