Despite the lack of 2010’s political windfall, CBS Radio posted flat revenue results in Q3. The TV O&O group saw revenues decline 6%, so the total for the Local Broadcast division was a decline of 3%. Not bad for a political off-year.
“Without the benefit from the substantial political spending in 2010, Local Broadcasting revenues for the third quarter of 2011 decreased 3% to $656 million from $677 million for the same prior-year period. CBS Television Stations revenues decreased 6%, reflecting the lack of significant political advertising revenues. Revenues for CBS Television Stations also reflected higher retransmission revenues and improvement across key advertising categories, including financial services and domestic auto. CBS Radio revenues were flat compared to the same prior-year period, also reflecting lower political spending, offset by growth in domestic auto, retail and financial services. Local Broadcasting auto advertising sales for the third quarter of 2011 increased from the prior year as domestic spending increased and the rate of decline in spending for Japanese auto slowed from the second quarter,” the company reported after the market closed on Thursday (11/3). “Local Broadcasting OIBDA for the third quarter of 2011 decreased 6% to $184 million from $195 million for the same prior-year period, reflecting lower revenues partially offset by lower programming costs.”
In the company’s conference call with analysts, CFO Joe Ianniello said the O&O TV stations are pacing up in the low single digits, excluding political, for Q4, and the same is true for the CBS Radio stations. That would be in line with the non-political core growth for Q3.
The Entertainment division, including the CBS Television Network, saw revenues gain 1% to $1.63 billion. That was credited in part to higher primetime advertising and retransmission consent revenues. Entertainment OIBDA shot up 46% to $405 million as margins increased.
CEO Les Moonves told analysts that scatter pricing is currently up in the mid-teens — and he noted that CBS is in a better position than its peers to capture scatter because its ratngs are strong, while others may be having to use inventory for make-goods for under-delivery.
Cable Networks revenues were up 14% to $420 million, with OIBDA up 19% to $203 million.