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CBS Earnings Preview: Hoping for Good Reception

Monday, 28 Apr 2008 | 1:52 PM ET

CBS (CBS)

Mostly TV, but also radio, billboard advertising (CBS Outdoor) and the publisher Simon & Shuster. TV properties (other than CBS) include 50% of the CW network, Showtime and CSTV (a sports channel). CBS is controlled by Sumner Redstone's privately-held company National Amusements.

Reports Q1 earnings Tuesday 4/29 at approx. 7a ET. Conference call at 830a ET.

CBS
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CBS

WHAT WILL MOVE THE STOCK:

TURNAROUND NEEDED - Ratings are down for both network programming and CBS Evening News. CBS stock has fallen 10% since the last earnings report (on February 26) and is down an ugly 36% since its July 23 trading high. Is Katie Couric out? Her $15 million-a-year contract runs through 2011, but there have been numerous stories and rumors that she will be taken off the show long before then. What is CBS doing to lure back viewers? What about...

ADVERTISERS - The weak economy is pinching ad budgets and analysts expect CBS will be hit harder than its competitors on both local and national ad spending. How is CBS doing with its online efforts?

OUTSOURCING - Is CBS getting ready to outsource some of its newsgathering to CNN? Earlier this month, the New York Times ran a story about this citing cost pressures on CBS.

INFIGHTING WITH VIACOM? - A sibling rivalry between CBS CEO Les Moonves and Viacom CEO Philipe Dauman (both companies are controlled by Sumner Redstone) took a new turn when Viacom refused to renew a contract to supply Paramount Pictures' films to CBS' Showtime. NY Post says the deal fell through when Moonves didn't sweeten his offer. What is Moonves doing to supply new movies for Showtime? What is he doing to look good in papa Redstone's eyes?

ESTIMATES:

Q1 EPS up 1% to $0.33, revenues down 3% to $3.551 billion

Q2 EPS up 3% to $0.55, revenues up 2% to $3.438 billion

FY 08 EPS up 3% to $1.94, revenues up 1% to $14.230 billion

Source: Thomson Reuters

Year-ago actuals: Q1 EPS $0.33, Rev. $3.658 billion

*All estimates are current as of 4/28 and subject to change.*

FACTOIDS:

LONG-TERM ESTIMATES DOWN, SHORT-TERM MIXED - No analyst has raised his 2008 EPS estimate for CBS since February. For the first quarter the picture is mixed: there have been estimates hikes and cuts over the last month as analysts have brought their forecasts closer to the consensus number.

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