CBS matches Wall Street's 4Q profit estimate, tops revenue forecast on higher ad sales

MarketsAssociated Press

Higher ad sales gave CBS Corp. a boost in the fourth quarter.

The owner of television's top-rated network has been reducing its reliance on the volatile advertising market. But that ad market worked to its favor during the quarter, helped by "Thursday Night Football" broadcasts and political ad revenue during the midterm elections.

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Still, the company continues to seek higher fees from cable, satellite and Internet video providers like Netflix, who are seeking the right to show popular series such as "The Big Bang Theory," ''The Good Wife" and "Dexter."

Executive Chairman Sumner Redstone said the company made progress in increasing those fees during the quarter, by "completing another round of new deals, each time at higher rates that place fair value on our content," he said.

The New York-based company posted profit of $413 million, or 79 cents per share, in the October-December quarter, from $470 million, or 76 cents per share, in the prior year.

Earnings, adjusted to account for discontinued operations, came to 77 cents per share, matching expectations of analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research.

Revenue rose 3 percent to $3.68 billion, exceeding Wall Street's forecast of $3.64 billion.

CBS said the return of "Thursday Night Football" in the fall and its broadcast of Super Bowl 50 next year should boost upcoming results.

CBS shares gained 3.4 percent in aftermarket trading. They had closed up $1.02 at $57.77 Thursday, with a drop of about 5 percent in the last 12 months.

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Elements of this story were generated by Automated Insights (http://automatedinsights.com/ap) using data from Zacks Investment Research. Access a Zacks stock report on CBS at http://www.zacks.com/ap/CBS

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