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CBS Corp (CBS) Tops Q1 Earnings & Revenues; Stock Gains

CBS Corporation’s CBS first-quarter 2016 earnings per share of $1.02 easily surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 94 cents on the back of robust advertising revenues as well as the grand success of the Super Bowl broadcast. Notably, the company’s earnings have beaten the Zacks Consensus Estimate in the trailing five quarters. The bottom line of this diversified media conglomerate also soared 30.8% from 78 cents in the year-ago quarter. Following the result, the company’s shares gained 2.2% in after hour trading session yesterday.

Total revenue the company jumped 10% to $3,849 million. The bottom line also beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $3,819 million. The top line of the company reflects 31.3% growth in advertising revenues on the back of the highly successful broadcast of Super Bowl 50 as well as additional National Football League ("NFL") games.  The 12% increase in underlying network advertising also drove revenues higher.

Adjusted operating income increased 16% to $821 million. Adjusted operating margin came in at 120% as against 21.3% in the prior-year quarter.

Segment wise, Entertainment revenues increased 14.4% to $2,587 million. Advertising revenues soared 31.3% on growth in CBS Television Network advertising revenues. Affiliate and subscription fees surged 67% due to increase in rates. However, these improvements were marginally offset by decline in content licensing as well as distribution revenues.

The segment’s operating income increased 29.8% to $449 million, primarily driven by growth in revenues.

Cable Networks’ revenues declined 2.6% to $525 million. The segment’s operating income fell 9.2% to $228 million mainly due to decline in international licensing revenues as well as due to higher costs associated with the 2016 series premiere of Billions on Showtime.

Publishing revenues came in at $145 million, flat year over year. Digital revenues now account for 28% of Publishing's total revenue. This segment’s operating income grew 8.3% to $13 million.

Local Broadcasting revenues increased 8.9% to $649 million in the quarter owing to increase in political advertising revenues, growth in retransmission revenues and also due to broadcast of Super Bowl 50 on CBS. CBS Television Stations’ revenues rose 18%, while CBS Radio’s revenues dipped 2%. The segment’s operating income surged 28% to $206 million due to higher revenues and lower expenses.

Other Financial Details

CBS Corp. ended the quarter with cash and cash equivalents of $411 million, long-term debt of $8,226 million, and shareholders’ equity of $5,483 million. In the quarter, the company generated cash flow from operations of $1,028 million and incurred capital expenditures of $38 million. Free cash flow during the quarter was negative $990 million, substantially higher than $400 million in the year-ago period.

During the quarter under review, CBS Corp. bought back 10.3 million shares for $500 million. By Mar 31, the company had $1.5 billion remaining under its current share buyback program.

Bottom Line

The company expects the increase in political revenues to improve advertising further in the latter half of the year. The company intends to cross the $2 billion mark in revenues from retransmission consent and reverse compensation by 2020. Several strategic deals with Sinclair, AT&T, Nexstar and others have favorably positioned the company to meet the retransmission targets much ahead of schedule. Moreover, the company is poised to generate higher revenues supported by the launch of Showtime's streaming service; online news channel, CBSN; and over-the-top service, CBS All Access.

Zacks Rank and Stocks to Consider

CBS currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks include Entercom Communications Corp. ETM, Gray Television, Inc. GTN and Sirius XM Holdings Inc. SIRI. Entercom Communications hold a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) Gray Television and Sirius XM has a Zacks Rank #2(Buy).

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CBS CORP (CBS): Free Stock Analysis Report
SIRIUS XM HLDGS (SIRI): Free Stock Analysis Report
ENTERCOM COMMUN (ETM): Free Stock Analysis Report
GRAY TELEVSN (GTN): Free Stock Analysis Report
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