(Adds details from conference call, analyst’s comments)
By Sruthi Ramakrishnan
May 8 (Reuters) - CBS Corp, owner of the most watched U.S. television network, reported lower-than-expected revenue as advertising fell 12 percent, sending its shares down 3 percent in extended trading.
Revenue for the first quarter fell 4 percent to $3.86 billion, reflecting fewer College basketball games and the absence of the Superbowl broadcast, which was carried by rival Fox this year.
“People expect that quarter after quarter there will be some little present delivered to them in terms of some positive surprise. There really wasn’t so much of that,” Wedbush Securities analyst James Dix told Reuters.
The broadcaster said it expects the second half of the year to be stronger, driven by heavy spending on political advertising due to mid-term elections scheduled in Florida and Michigan, markets with CBS-owned stations.
More original programming over the summer, Thursday Night Football in the fall season and higher ad rates are also expected to boost revenue at CBS’s Television Network in the second half of the year.
Strong demand in international markets for the network’s hit shows such as “NCIS” and “The Good Wife” drove up first-quarter licensing revenue by 6 percent.
CBS will premiere its thriller “Penny Dreadful” on its Showtime network on Sunday.
The company’s net earnings from continuing operations rose to $468 million, or 78 cents per share, in the quarter, from $463 million, or 73 cents per share, a year earlier.
Excluding items, the company’s profit was 79 cents per share, above the average analyst estimate of 74 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Superbowl advertising helped rival 21st Century Fox Inc report a better-than-expected quarterly profit on Wednesday.
CBS shares were trading at $56.32 after the bell. They closed at $58.01 on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday. (Additional reporting by Abhirup Roy in Bangalore; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)