By Lisa Richwine
LOS ANGELES, Nov 6 (Reuters) - CBS Corp recorded a higher profit that met Wall Street expectations as the company collected more revenue from advertising and the licensing of television shows including hits “NCIS: Los Angeles” and “The Good Wife.”
CBS on Wednesday posted diluted earnings per share of 76 cents for the third quarter, in line with the average projection of analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. The company reported 64 cents per share a year earlier.
Net earnings from continuing operations rose to $469 million, a 12 percent gain from $420 million in the same period last year, the company said.
Chief Operating Officer Joseph Ianniello, on a conference call with analysts, said CBS will increase its share buybacks during the fourth quarter. The company expects to have repurchased $2.2 billion worth of stock this year when the buybacks are complete, he said.
Shares of CBS fell 1.9 percent to $58.50 in after-hours trading, down from their $59.62 close on the New York Stock Exchange.
CBS draws more overall viewers than any other U.S. broadcast network with its stable of hits such as “The Big Bang Theory” and “NCIS.” The company also operates Showtime and other cable channels, the publishing house Simon & Schuster, and radio stations.
During the quarter, CBS stations went dark for a month on Time Warner Cable systems in major markets as the two companies battled over a new carriage agreement. Last week, Time Warner Cable said it lost 304,000 net video customers during the September quarter that included the blackout.
The dispute did not harm CBS earnings, Chief Executive Leslie Moonves told analysts on Wednesday. “The fact is that the blackout did not negatively affect our company’s third quarter results,” Moonves said during the conference call.
For the just-ended quarter, advertising revenue rose 4 percent during the quarter, CBS said, including a 13 percent gain at the CBS broadcast network. Content licensing and distribution revenue climbed 18 percent, driven by sales of dramas “NCIS: Los Angeles” and “The Good Wife.”