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CBS Breaks Revenue and Earnings Records in Q4, But Misses Wall Street Projections

Company expects to have 25 million combined subs between Showtime OTT and CBS All Access by 2022

CBS recorded record revenues and adjusted earnings per share (EPS) over the final quarter of 2018, but missed out on Wall Street projections.

The company reported fourth-quarter revenues of $4 billion and an earnings-per-share of $1.49. Wall Street had forecasted Q4 earnings of $1.54 per share and $4.19 billion in revenue, per a Yahoo Finance compilation of media analysts.

For the full fiscal 2018, CBS Corp reported revenue of $14.5 billion.

“CBS delivered our best-ever quarterly and full year results as we continue to position our Company for even stronger long-term growth,” said Joe Ianniello, president and acting CEO, CBS Corporation. “Our strategy of creating more of the premium content that audiences want and making it available across new and traditional platforms continues to pay off, driving quarterly increases in subscribers at CBS and Showtime, both consecutively and year over year.”

Revenues for the fourth quarter of 2018 increased 3 percent to $4.02 billion from $3.92 billion for the fourth quarter of 2017. Advertising revenues increased 7 percent, driven by record political advertising sales from the 2018 midterm elections. This more than helped to offset the absence of “Thursday Night Football,” which moved to Fox after four years with CBS having all or part of the franchise.

Ianniello added that the company’s two streaming products — Showtime and CBS All Access — have reached 8 million combined subscribers, two years ahead of schedule. The company now is aiming for 25 million combined subs by 2022.

Showtime’s linear TV channel will increase original programming hours by 30 percent in 2019, Ianniello said during the company’s quarterly earnings conference call.

“All of this success is fueled by the must-have programming we have from across our key established content brands. Once again, the CBS Television Network is #1 in viewers, and thanks to the strength of our entertainment lineup and marquee sporting events, we are confident we will end the season as the most-watched network for the 11th consecutive year,” Ianniello continued. “At Showtime, we are growing our audience with our year-round lineup of buzzworthy original series, from ‘Shameless’ and ‘Ray Donovan’ to ‘Billions’ and ‘The Chi,’ as well as our premier boxing events. So we are set for another great year in 2019 as we continue to distinguish ourselves as a global multiplatform premium content company and steer our strategic focus toward scaling our direct-to-consumer subscribers.”