CBS expects 'significantly higher' retrans revenue in 2013

CBS Corp. (NYSE: CBS) expects it will generate nearly $500 million in retransmission-consent revenue this year, thanks to recent deals with Charter Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: CHTR) and other pay TV distributors, executives said Thursday.

Boasting that the Charter agreement CBS signed last month had "very attractive terms," CEO Les Moonves said CBS is on track to meet its goal of reaching $1 billion in annual revenue from retransmission-consent and reverse compensation from CBS affiliates by 2017, "if not sooner."

"Just like our previous agreements, each new deal we make is better than the last," Moonves said regarding the agreement with Charter. "And as a result, we are looking at significantly higher retrans revenue in 2013," Moonves told analysts on CBS's fourth-quarter earnings call.

CBS said it generated $3.7 billion in revenue in the fourth quarter, up 2 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2011. The company, which also owns Showtime Networks, said affiliate and subscription fee revenue jumped 9 percent thanks to growth from its cable networks and higher retransmission-consent fees. It posted $403 million in net earnings from continuing operations (62 cents per share), up from $351 million (52 cents per share) this time last year.

Moonves said Showtime gained 1 million subscribers in 2012, attributing the growth to its increased investment in original programs such as DexterHomeland and Californication. The premium network now counts more than 22 million subscribers. "Showtime indeed is on fire," he added.

For more:
- see the release
- see transcript from Q4 call (sub. req.)

Special Report: Cable in the fourth quarter of 2012

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