But revenues rose 3% to $3.26 billion.
The revenue increase was fueled by 79% growth from digital initiatives, including the company’s owned streaming subscription services, and strong gains in retransmission revenues and fees from CBS Television Network affiliated stations. Advertising revenues for the third quarter of 2018 were up 14%, including revenues of Network 10 and higher political advertising sales. Advertising on the CBS Television Network was flat.
Net earnings were $488 million, or 1.29 a share, compared to $592 million, or $1.46 a share, a year ago.
Earnings from continuing operations rose to $488 million, or $1.29 a share, from $418 million, or $1.04 a share, a year ago.
Corporate expenses of $64 million for the third quarter of 2018 decreased 9% from $70 million from a year ago, primarily reflecting lower executive compensation costs, the company noted.
“CBS continues to deliver for our shareholders and execute our long-term growth strategy," said Joe Ianniello, president and acting chief executive officer. “We turned in our best third quarter ever in revenue and EPS, and we remain on track to achieve our 2018 outlook, with revenue growth in the high-single digits and EPS growth in the high teens.”
Ianniello noted that CBS expanded its over-the-top streaming services with the launch of ET Live.
“Up ahead, 2019 looks to be another outstanding year, with the Super Bowl and Final Four back on CBS, strong gains in retrans and reverse comp, and continued growth in our direct-to-consumer streaming services, which are on track to reach a combined eight million subs, a year ahead of our original projections,” he said. “Overall, we are confident that our strategy of growing CBS’ leadership position as a global multi-platform premium content company will lead to even greater creative and financial heights in the years to come.”