CBS beat its earnings forecast for the first quarter of 2018, posting an adjusted diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $1.34 and a record $3.76 billion in revenue.
The $3.76 billion in revenue was a record for a first-quarter, and CBS also hit an all-time quarterly high in adjusted operating income and adjusted diluted EPS. Wall Street had forecast Q1 earnings of $1.19 EPS and $3.64 billion in revenue, per a Yahoo Finance compilation of media analysts.
CBS shares were trading up nearly two percent in after market trading to $49.65 per share.
“CBS’phenomenal first-quarter results once again affirm that we have the right strategy to successfully monetize our premium content now and in the future,” said Leslie Moonves, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, CBS Corporation. “We achieved these record results thanks to the many ways we are delivering our must-have content, including our direct-to-consumer services — CBS All Access and Showtime OTT — which continue to grow rapidly and are now contributing meaningful dollars to our bottom line while attracting younger viewers.”
CBS saw gains for its affiliate, advertising and content licensing revenues.
Affiliate and subscription revenues rose 16 percent, led by a 25 percent increase in retransmission fees and growth among CBS’ streaming subscription services such as CBS All Access.
Advertising revenues were up eight percent, which include CBS’ acquisition of Australia’s Network Ten last year. Meanwhile, content licensing and distribution revenues were up 18 percent, benefiting from growth from the international licensing of new series as well as the start of renewal periods for licenses of library programming.
Combining CBS Television Network, CBS Television Studios, CBS Studios International, CBS Television Distribution, Network Ten, CBS Interactive, and CBS Films, the company’s entertainment revenue increased 16 percent from the same time last year.
On the cable end — Showtime Networks, CBS Sports Network, and Smithsonian Networks — revenue increased 12 percent.
“We are just beginning to reap the benefits from our position as an industry leader in delivering content over-the-top while others are just entering this business. Beyond direct-to-consumer, our Company-wide growth in paying subscribers is an extremely important and unique part of our success,” Moonves continued. “Specifically, when you combine our CBS and Showtime subs across traditional MVPDs, virtual MVPDs (aka “skinny bundles”), and direct-to-consumer services, CBS Corporation’s subscribers are not only growing, but the growth is also accelerating. And the average rate per sub is increasing strongly as well. Looking ahead, we are confident that the demand for our programming will only increase when we unveil our new primetime lineup for the CBS Television Network later this month. In addition, we have a very successful slate of new and returning series at Showtime that continues to drive its rates and subscribers, and we have the midterm elections this fall.”
He concluded, “All of this is leading to another record year for the CBS Corporation in 2018, and with today’s terrific results, we are even more confident in the very strong full-year growth outlook that we laid out three months ago.”
During their conference call to discuss the quarterly results, CBS executives would not discuss any potential merger with Viacom.