CBS Corp. reported fourth quarter revenue of $3.5 billion, down less than 1%
from the $3.53 billion in the same quarter a year before. "Higher national
advertising sales, growth in affiliate and subscription fees, and improvement
in the local television marketplace, were offset by lower radio, outdoor and
political advertising sales and continued softness in the publishing retail
market," CBS said in a statement.
CBS Corp. Executive Chairman Sumner Redstone said the company was well
positioned for a robust 2010. "Throughout the past year, [CBS Corp.
President/CEO] Leslie [Moonves] and his team did all the right things to
position CBS for a vibrant future, and the results we're reporting today speak
to our momentum," said Redstone. "We've managed through the year with
financial prudence, while at the same time continuing to invest in our
top-quality content businesses and maintain our industry-leading position."
CBS' full 2009 revenue was just over $13 billion, down 7% from 2008. Moonves
said CBS met its goal of improving each quarter throughout a trying 2009.
"As we promised, each quarter in 2009 improved on the one
before--culminating in our best performance of the year in the fourth
quarter," he said. "The good news is, the rising revenue trends are
continuing into 2010."
CBS reported fourth quarter entertainment revenues of $1.82 billion, a 4% boost
over the previous year. Ad revenue at the CBS Television Network was up 8%
while CBS Interactive ad sales decreased 5%.
Cable Networks revenue was up 8% to $347.1 million for the fourth quarter,
thanks to rate increases and growth in subscriptions at Showtime Networks and
CBS College Sports Network. "Showtime Networks subscriptions totaled 61.3
million as of December 31, 2009,
up by 2.6 million, or 4%, from December
31, 2008," reported CBS, "and CBS College Sports Network
subscriptions of 34.8 million were up by 9.5 million, or 38%."
CBS' Publishing revenues were down 10% in the quarter to $220 million.
Local Broadcasting revenues were off 8% to $680 million in the quarter,
reflecting lower radio and political advertising sales. Revenues for CBS
Television Stations decreased 3% to $358.2 million, while CBS Radio revenues
decreased 12% to $322.2 million for the same prior-year period, partially
reflecting station divestitures. Non-political advertising sales increased 11%
for CBS Television Stations and were flat for overall Local Broadcasting.
CBS has taken steps of late to get its local radio and television outlets
working closer together.
Finally, CBS' Outdoor revenues for the fourth quarter were $483.7 million, an
8% slide from the same quarter the year before.
Similar to Redstone, Moonves said the future looks bright for CBS. "The
CBS Television Network is again #1 this season and up in every key demographic
year-over-year, and we've added two new hits--both of which are wholly-owned by
CBS," he said. "Cable Networks' subscriber and profit growth continues,
and traffic to CBS Interactive sites hit new records during the quarter."
Moonves said both national and local advertising is picking up, "with
dramatic gains in scatter and sales pacing for the network and our TV stations
in the first quarter. Local radio stations are pacing well above last year's
first quarter, and Outdoor has reached last year's levels."
He also said revenue streams such as fees paid by CBS affiliates are playing a
bigger role in the company's bottom line. "With growing retransmission and
affiliate fees, we've established a substantial secondary revenue stream,"
said Moonves. "At the same time, we continue to manage our cost structure
to deliver better efficiencies in any economy, and have improved our liquidity
position--all of which we believe will help us better capitalize on the ongoing
economic recovery in 2010."