Faced with a weak ad market, CBS (NYSE: CBS) repored Q2 revenue up just 1 percent to $3.93 billion, just behind analyst estimates of $3.41 billion. Net income followed, growing 1 percent to $408.4 million; adjusted EPS of $.53 per share was just ahead of the $.52 per share consensus. Revenue at the TV networks was up 2 percent, but ad revenue fell by 6 percent. The decline would have been worse had it not been for the timing of the NCAA tournament, which last year fell in Q1. The decline was offset by higher licensing and affiliate revenue (they can thank folks subscribing to Showtime to watch The Secret Diary of a Call Girl and Weeds for some of that).
Not surprisingly, the radio business was quite bad, with revenue falling 10 percent to $416.4 million. Op income fell 16 percent to $150.7 million. The company says it plans to divest 50 radio stations. The consistent bright spot remains outdoor advertising, which was up 8 percent. Publishing (Simon & Schuster) was weak as well, with revenue falling 7 percent and op income down 19 percent.
As for the recently digested CNET (NSDQ: CNET) unit, the company says it will start breaking out interactive figures starting in Q3, though hopefully we'll get a lot more insight on that into the call. It should also be interesting to see what the interactive business is like ex-CNET, though CNET will be the bulk of things. As for the outlook for the full year, the company says it expects: "operating income to be comparable to the prior year, from growth of between 3% and 5%, due to recent softness in the U.S. economy and its effects on the Company's local businesses. "
By Joseph Weisenthal