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CBS Q3 Profits Beat Projections, But Revenues Fall Short (Updated)

In conference call with analysts, CEO Les Moonves was bullish about the streaming business

Profits at CBS over the third quarter beat Wall Street's expectations on Thursday, but revenue fell just short of analysts' estimates. 

Net income rose 38 percent to $338 million, or $0.50 per  share, up from $245 million, or $0.35 per share, for the same quarter last year.

Also read: Earnings Scorecard: Who's Up, Who's Down This Season

The company reported revenue of $3.37 billion, a  2 percent jump from $3.3 billion in the same period a year ago. 

Financial analysts had expected net income to top out at $0.46 per share, a mark the broadcaster topped, but it could not match the $3.43 billion in revenues that had been projected.

CBS continues to be the top-rated network in terms of total viewers, thanks in part to hit shows such as "Two and a Half Men" and "The Big Bang Theory." The company's advertising revenue stayed virtually flat at just under $2 billion, but licensing and affiliate fees both increased during the three month period ended Sept. 30. 

In a conference call with analysts after earnings were announced, President and CEO Les Moonves said that he expected political advertising to expand substantially thanks to the 2012 election cycle.  

Also read: CW Strikes 5-Year Deal With Hulu for New Shows

Moreover, the company was bullish about the fees it has started to rack up for online distribution of its programs. 

Moonves said that the streaming business would continue to be a steady source of income for the company and was a crucial part of the company's strategy to diversify its revenue streams. 

Last month, in a sign of more things to come, CBS struck a multi-million dollar pact with Netflix for rights to stream shows from CW. It has also struck deals with Hulu and Amazon for its content. 

"You saw the streaming marketplace begin to truly take hold," Moonves said, predicting that 2012 is "…shaping up to be an even bigger year in terms of streaming." 

At this point, CBS shows are still unavailable for streaming through the Hulu video streaming service.

Shares of CBS fell just over 2 percent to $24 in extended after-hours trading. 

CBS also announced that it will increase its ongoing stock-buyback program by $1.5 billion. It has already repurchased $850 million Class B shares under a previously announced $1.5 billion buyback.