(Reuters) – CBS Corp <CBS.N>, owner of the most-watched U.S. television network, on Thursday posted a 27.4 percent rise in quarterly profit that beat expectations as licensing revenue from its new “Star Trek” series offset slower advertising sales.
Shares of the media company slipped 0.02 percent to $54.20 in extended trading, after closing at $54.21 on the New York Stock Exchange.
The company, which owns cable channel Showtime, radio stations and publishing house Simon & Schuster, said net income rose to $423 million, or 93 cents per share, in the second quarter ended June 30 from $332 million, or 67 cents per share, a year earlier.
Analysts on average had expected 86 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Advertising revenue dropped 2.6 percent to $1.55 billion, partly because of a year-ago surge from the National Collegiate Athletic Association basketball finals broadcast, the company said in a statement. Advertising contributes almost half of CBS’s total revenue.
CBS will benefit later this year from double-digit ad price increases that were locked in during the advance selling season for fall TV shows, as well as strong demand for political ads during the U.S. presidential election campaign, Chief Executive Leslie Moonves told analysts on a conference call after the company released earnings.
CBS has focused on boosting revenue from online subscription streaming services such as Netflix Inc <NFLX.O> and its own CBS All Access in order to rely less on advertising and attract younger viewers.
CBS All Access and an online streaming service on Showtime each have about 1 million subscribers, Moonves said.
Content licensing and distribution revenue rose about 16 percent to $943 million, accounting for about 28.7 percent of total revenue. The company said it benefited from a deal to stream “Star Trek” television episodes on Netflix in international markets.
CBS, home to shows such as “NCIS,” “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” and “The Big Bang Theory,” said total revenue rose 2.1 percent to $3.29 billion in the quarter. Analysts on average had expected $3.21 billion.
CBS on Thursday raised its quarterly dividend to 18 cents per share from 15 cents announced in May. It also increased its share buyback program to $6 billion from $1 billion.
(Reporting by Nikhil Subba in Bengaluru and Lisa Richwine in Los Angeles; Editing by Don Sebastian and Richard Chang)