The big media companies have effectively separated into two camps, with the purer entertainment companies chalking up solid results, while such others as the newspaper publishers and cable operators trudge along mostly unloved. CBS
For the quarter, the company earned $343.3 million, or $0.48 per share, versus $316.9 million, or $0.41 a share, a year ago. Apparently, the dart throwers who follow the company had expected a per-share figure of about $0.43. But in the face of lower television license fees, the sale of a number of the company's radio and television stations, and the shut-down of the UPN television network, CBS' revenues for the quarter dipped 3% to $3.3 billion.
The radio unit saw its operating income fall by 20% in the quarter, while television, publishing, and outdoor (which recently acquired SignStorey) rose between 4% and 13%. Radio's static came from previously announced sales of stations in 10 markets, along with anemic advertising sales.
Management's guidance for the year -- assuming the newly launched writers' strike doesn't ruin its plans -- is for 2007 fiscal year revenues to retreat by 2% to 3% and for operating income to be about comparable to 2006 thanks to the disposal of media assets. Further out, the company maintains expectation for low-single-digit revenue growth coupled with high-single-digit earnings growth. While some of the bottom-line expansion will come from improved margins, CBS also has a voracious appetite for share buybacks.
CBS thus sidles up to the likes of Disney
And not only is CBS benefiting from finally being able to extract rebroadcast fees from cable operators -- Mediacom
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Fool contributor David Lee Smith would like Fools to keep in mind that CBS is the network of SEC football. He doesn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned. The Fool has a thoroughly broadcast disclosure policy.