CBS boosted by better-than-expected profits

The good times continue to roll for Les Moonves.

The CBS chief executive on Thursday reported a solid first-quarter performance for his entertainment company — fueled by CBS All Access and Showtime’s streaming app.

The better-than-expected profits and revenue from CBS buoyed investors and sent the New York company’s shares up as much as 3 percent in after-hours trading, to $50.14.

“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,” Moonves told analysts on a conference call, noting that subscribers across all channels are starting to accelerate.

Moonves said he expects “a very good year for advertising” driven by political ads during the midterm elections, as well as a continued demand for content — thanks to deep-pocketed rivals like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu.

Aside from upping its content creation game, Moonves said CBS has been able to make money from selling its syndicated shows like “NCIS” to streaming services.

“CBS is operating from a position of great strength,” said Moonves, who added that the company will hit its financial targets through 2020.

For the quarter, CBS swung to a $511 million profit, or $1.32 a share, from a year-ago loss of $252 million. Wall Street was expecting $1.15. Revenue rose 12.5 percent, to $3.76 billion — above the $3.64 billion forecast.

Despite all the pomp, there was a cloud hanging over CBS, as it continues its public and sometimes ugly merger talks with Viacom.

CBS did not address the topic on its conference call.

Shari Redstone, who controls both firms via her family’s National Amusements Inc., is pressing for a deal.

Discussions have stalled, however, over price and the makeup of the executive team under Moonves.

Source: Read Full Article