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UPDATE 1-CBS misses revenue estimates on weak content licensing, distribution

(Adds shares, background on CEO)

May 2(Reuters) - TV broadcaster and media company CBS Corp fell short of analysts' estimates for first-quarter revenue on Thursday, hit by a drop in content licensing and distribution sales.

Revenue from its content licensing and distribution segment fell 3.2 percent to $963 million in the quarter, sending its shares down more than 1 percent to $49.70 in after-market trading.

CBS, home to popular shows such as the "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert," and "The Big Bang Theory," last month suspended the search for a permanent CEO and extended the role of its interim CEO Joseph Ianniello, sparking speculation about the company considering for the third time a tie-up with sister company Viacom Inc.

While media majors Walt Disney Co and AT&T Inc are tapping into their extensive film and TV libraries to launch streaming rivals to Netflix and's Prime video, smaller players CBS and Viacom appear to be harmonizing their strategy, focusing on providing original content to other distributors.

CBS said total revenue rose nearly 11 percent to $4.17 billion, but came in below estimates of $4.30 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Net earnings rose to $1.58 billion, or $4.21 per share, in the three months ended March 31, from $511 million, or $1.32 per share, a year earlier.

The year-earlier quarter included a tax benefit of $768 million, the company said.

Excluding certain items, the company earned $1.37 per share, just above analysts' expectation of $1.36.

(Reporting by Vibhuti Sharma in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)