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CBS Corp delivered a slight rise in profits and revenues in its first quarter as an independent company as its television and outdoor advertising divisions offset another sluggish performance by its radio group.
CBS, which split from fellow media group Viacom in January, said net earnings from continuing operations were $226.9m in the first quarter, up slightly from $225m a year ago. Revenues increased 4 per cent to $3.58bn, helped by 5 per cent gains in the television and outdoor advertising divisions.
Those helped to make up for another weak quarter at CBS Radio, where revenues fell 6 per cent to $435m. The group was damaged by a broader slowdown in radio advertising, and the departure of shock jock Howard Stern, who left CBS for satellite radio.
Les Moonves, CBS’s chief executive, said on Wednesday that fixing the radio division was a top priority. CBS has already taken action by rehiring Opie and Andy, two disc jockeys who left the company in 2002 following a profane on-air incident at a Manhattan church. “We made a quick mid-course change and brought in proven talent,” Mr Moonves said.
He also pledged to sell some of CBS’s 179 stations in order to focus on large markets, saying: “We’re being quite aggressive about that.”
The results will offer some grist for analysts and investors, who have been scrutinising the CBS-Viacom split as part of a broader debate about the merits of deconsolidation in the media industry.
Mr Moonves damped speculation about another deal that would reshape CBS, saying that he was not interested in Univision, the Spanish-language media company that recently put itself up for sale. “We’re not looking for an acquisition of that size,” Mr Moonves said.
He also told analysts to expect a sale of CBS theme parks, which – along with publishing – posted a surprising 12 per cent gain in revenues.