CBS Profit Beats Analysts’ Estimates as Affiliate Fees Increase

CBS Corp., the most-watched U.S. TV network, reported sales and profit that beat analysts’ estimates, a reflection of higher fees from local stations and pay-TV services.

Profit rose to 78 cents a share from 77 cents a year ago, buoyed by stock repurchases, New York-based CBS said Thursday in a statement. Analysts had forecast 75 cents, the average of 28 estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Rising programming costs probably made the quarter the toughest of the year for CBS, David Miller, an analyst with Topeka Capital Markets, wrote in a May 6 investor note. Those include expenses for new shows for the CBS broadcast network and Showtime, along with rising outlays for sports.

Sales shrank 2 percent to $3.5 billion, beating the $3.46 billion average projection of analysts. Operating income fell to $702 million from $791 million a year earlier.

“The story with this quarter will be programming and pilot costs at both the core entertainment unit, as well as costs as Showtime, both of which are set to showcase brand new programming later in the year,” Miller wrote.

CBS was little changed in extended trading after the announcement. The stock 0.2 percent to $61.22 at the close in New York and is up 11 percent this year.

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