CBS Tops Earnings Estimates as Political Spending Fuels Ad Sales

(Bloomberg) -- CBS Corp., moving on from a sexual-harassment scandal that toppled its longtime chief, reported better-than-expected earnings after political advertising helped fuel results.

  • Profit climbed to $1.24 a share, excluding some items, beating the $1.22 average of analysts’ estimates. Sales also came in just ahead of Wall Street projections.

Key Insights

  • The results represent a key early win for interim Chief Executive Officer Joe Ianniello, who replaced Leslie Moonves following a sexual harassment scandal in September. He’s looking to demonstrate that he can handle the role permanently.
  • TV-show licensing and ad sales generated a 19 percent increase in revenue at CBS’s entertainment unit. Moonves was considered a talented show picker, and investors are looking for signs that the network’s programming remains in good hands.
  • With midterm elections coming next week, much of the TV industry is benefiting from a surge in advertising. Needham & Co. analyst Laura Martin projected as much as $250 million in CBS sales this year from political ads.

Market Reaction

  • CBS shares gained as much as 1.3 percent to $59.23 in late trading. They had been little changed this year through Thursday’s close.

Get More

  • CBS also is making headway in streaming, helping offset the decline of pay television. It launched a fifth video streaming service tied to its “Entertainment Tonight” brand this month.
  • For more on the results, click here.
  • Read the statement here.

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