It was a classic good news-bad news situation for CBS
For the first quarter, CBS earned $244 million, or $0.36 a share. That's up 14% (versus the same quarter last year) on the net income line from $214 million, or $0.28 a share. Revenue was about flat at $3.65 billion.
In the first quarter of 2007, CBS hosted Super Bowl XLI and the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament semifinals. In the most recent quarter, the company benefited from a new international self-distribution arrangement for the CSI television program. Previously, the franchise had been distributed through a third party.
Looking at the company's individual segments, television -- which dwarfs the other CBS units -- eked out a 1% revenue growth but was able to improve its operating income before depreciation and amortization (OIBDA) by 13%. The outdoor segment increased revenue by 7%, while both radio and publishing saw their revenues decline.
Looking ahead, management expects adjusted operating income to grow in the range of 3% to 5% this year. One of the areas that isn't firing on all cylinders involves the local TV stations, which generate about 15% of total revenue. Almost certainly, however, they'll benefit this year from increased advertising tied to the elections.
CBS thus becomes the latest in a group of disparate media companies to report this quarter's results. Thus far, a direction for the group is difficult to discern. Although CBS' earnings were up, both Time Warner
As to CBS, the company's shares have slid by about 35% since hitting $35 a share last July. My inclination, given the difficulties being experienced by many advertising-based companies, is to suggest that there are preferable companies in the media space for Fools' hard-earned investment dough.
Time Warner and Disney are Stock Advisor recommendations.
Fool contributor David Lee Smith is an avid reader of News Corp.'s Wall Street Journal, but doesn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned. He does welcome your comments. The Fool has a disclosure policy.