By Lisa Richwine
LOS ANGELES, Feb 12 (Reuters) - CBS Corp reported higher profit that beat Wall Street forecasts for the quarter that ended in December, boosted by revenue from digital streaming deals and fees from pay television operators.
Shares of CBS jumped 4.3 percent to $64.50 in after-hours trading on Wednesday following the earnings report and the announcement of an accelerated share repurchase of $1.5 billion during the first quarter.
The media company posted adjusted diluted earnings per share of 78 cents, up 22 percent from a year earlier, and beating the average projection of 76 cents from analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Fourth quarter operating income rose 9 percent to $793 million.
CBS Corp operates CBS, the highest-rated U.S. broadcast network in overall viewers 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.
Revenue for the quarter grew 6 percent to $3.91 billion, led by a 28 percent increase in content licensing and distribution revenue.
CBS Chief Executive Officer Leslie Moonves, on a conference call with analysts, set a new target for “retransmission” payments that cable and satellite operators pay to carry their channels and “reverse compensation” payments from local affiliates to carry its programming. Revenue from those sources should rise to $2 billion annually in 2020, Moonves said.
Moonves also said he expected revenue from subscription video on-demand services, like Netflix and Hulu Plus, to rise in 2014 compared to 2013.