CBS posts biggest quarter ever; profit up 11%

CBS posts biggest quarter ever; profit up 11%
CBS Corp. released its second-quarter earnings on Wednesday. Leslie Moonves, the corporation's president and chief executive, is seen during the Television Critics Assn. summer press tour on Monday in Beverly Hills. (Monty Brinton / Associated Press)

CBS Corp. said its fiscal second quarter was the company's biggest quarter ever, with revenue and profit climbing 11%.

For the quarter ended June 30, the New York broadcasting giant earned $472 million, or 76 cents a share, compared to $427 million, or 65 cents a share, for the year earlier period.


The earnings beat analysts' estimates of 72 cents a share.

CBS generated $3.7 billion in revenue, up from $3.3 billion in the second quarter of 2012.

"Double-digit revenue growth -- and the best quarterly profits we've ever had -- add up to a phenomenal quarter for CBS," Chief Executive Leslie Moonves said Wednesday in a prepared statement. "CBS has delivered another quarter for the record books."

Content licensing deals, including digital streaming and international syndication, helped propel the results. CBS raked in $997 million in content and distribution fees, an increase of 22% over the previous year period.

CBS is currently locked in tough negotiations with Time Warner Cable for a new distribution deal for stations in Los Angeles, New York and other markets. A lucrative new deal could produce even more revenue in the increasingly important area of retransmission consent fees.

The two sides have been engaged in close talks for the last several days. The standoff resulted in some CBS stations falling off TWC systems earlier this week, after which a new Friday deadline was set. On Wednesday, Moonves stayed steadfast.

"Receiving fair value for our content is core to who we are and we will remain resolute in this principle," the executive told investors and analysts.

Entertainment revenue, which includes the CBS broadcast network, topped $2 billion, an increase of 18% from the $1.71 billion for the previous year period. CBS said the increase was driven by higher revenues from content licensing deals and growth in network affiliation fees.

"Success was led by our content businesses, which continue to prove that this is a Golden Age for those who have the best programming," Moonves told analysts on Wednesday's earnings call.

The No. 1-ranked CBS television network also notched ad sales gains of 11% during the quarter.

Revenue at the company's cable television unit, which includes the premium pay channel Showtime, jumped 16% to $518 million. The growth came from a pay-per-view boxing match, and higher fees for digital licensing fees for Showtime's original programs.

The company's Simon & Schuster publishing house generated $189 million, roughly flat with the second quarter of 2012. However, the sales of digital books leaped 39%, and now make up more than a quarter of the publishing revenue.

Local TV and radio station revenue declined 1% to $698 million from $704 million, but during the second quarter of 2012 CBS stations were starting to rake in political ad dollars.