CBS Corp. reported growth in all profit measures in its first quarter earnings Thursday, and beat Wall Street’s profit expectations.
The company reported diluted earnings per share of $.78 Thursday, up 7 percent from the previous quarter and above Wall Street’s expectations of .75 per share.
Revenues, however, were down: CBS had $3.86 billion for the first quarter of 2014 compared with $4.04 billion in the same period in 2013, which included more than $280 million from CBS’s broadcast of Super Bowl XLVII.
CBS’s stock slipped 1.74 in after hours trade to $57 per share.
The $.78 per share came from earnings from continuing operations of $468 million. In the same quarter in 2013, CBS earned $463 million, or $.73 per diluted share.
Content licensing and distribution revenues grew 6 percent, driven by higher international licensing of television programming. Affiliate and subscription fee revenues rose 9 percent, led by higher cable affiliate fees, retransmission revenues, and fees from CBS Television Network-affiliated television stations.
Operating income before depreciation and amortization of $930 million, and operating income of $818 million, were each up 2 percent from the same prior-year period as increases in higher-margin revenues made up for the absence of the Super Bowl.
CBS CEO Les Moonves noted that CBS is finishing the 2013-14 network as the most-watched network for the sixth straight year. NBC, however, has topped CBS in the key 18-49 demographic this season, after lagging behind it for years.
Moonves predicted that adding the NFL to CBS’s Thursday lineup in the fall will make the network even more competitive.
“I’m very pleased to be reporting record first quarter profits, driven once again by our fast-growing, higher- margin revenue streams,” said Leslie Moonves (pictured), CBS’s CEO. “Thanks to the strength of our base business, as well as new opportunities to monetize our content, our momentum continues to build. And we are confident we are still in the early innings of our terrific growth story.”