CBS Q1 Earnings Get Super Bowl Boost

Ad revenue up 18%
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CBS’s first quarter earnings got a boost from the Super Bowl and a big tax benefit in the first quarter.

Net earnings were $1.58 billion, or $4.21 a share, up from $511 million, or $1.32 a share. CBS had a $768 million tax benefit from reorganizing its international operations. Without the benefit, adjusted net earnings were down 1%. Adjusted earnings per share rose 2% to $1.37 from $1.34.

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Revenue rose 11% to $4.17 billion.

Advertising revenue grew 18%, thanks largely to the broadcast of the Super Bowl on CBS in February.

Related: CBS Sweetens Ianniello’s Pay Under Extension

Affiliate and subscription fee revenue rose 13%, led by more subscribers paying for CBS All Access and Showtime’s over-the-top service.

“CBS has once again grown across all of our key financial metrics, while continuing to invest in our future as a global multi-platform premium content company,” said acting CEO Joe Ianniello. “We delivered higher profits and achieved double-digit revenue growth, helped in part by Super Bowl LIII and strong increases in affiliate and subscription fee revenues. At a time when others are losing subscribers, our total number of subs across traditional MVPDs, virtual MVPDs and our direct-to-consumer services once again grew strongly during the quarter.”

Ianniello said direct-to-consumer subscribers grew by 71% from last year, that growth comes in part from original series including The Twilight Zone on CBS All Access and Billions on Showtime.

Related: CBS All Access Renews ‘The Twilight Zone’

“At the same time, we also continue to produce more and more content for a variety of buyers, including Amazon, Apple and Netflix,” Ianniello said. “We feel very confident about CBS’ leadership position in a media landscape that values must have content above all else.”

Operating income for CBS’ Entertainment division rose 9% to $530 million from $486 million as revenue jumped 15% to $3.176 billion from $2.753 billion thanks to the Super Bowl broadcast.

Cable network operating income fell to $175 million from $236 million as revenue declined to $552 million from $571 million. A year ago, the cable network business benefited from a big licensing deal for the series Dexter.

Local media operating income rose to $138 million from $118 million. Revenue was up to $457 million from $415 million, getting a boost from the Super Bowl.

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