CBS Corp.

Jordana Lanz, Adam Schoenberg, Bryan Sanchez



CBS Corporation Logo[1]


CBS Corporation originated in 1927 as the United Independent Broadcasters. From 1928 to 1997 the company transitioned from its original name to Columbia Broadcasting System, Inc. and then to CBS Inc. It was not until the mass media company was purchased for $5.4 billion by Westinghouse Electric Corporation that it evolved into CBS Corp. in 1997[2].  Viacom Inc. acquired CBS for $45 billion in 1999. Six years later, the companies split but both remained controlled by Sumner Redstone through National Amusements. Today, CBS Corp. remains as a major media conglomerate, operating within the entertainment industry as a leader in cable, publishing, radio, film, and interactive media.[3]


In Q3 2016, CBS Corp. reported its highest quarterly diluted EPS in the history of the company. Third quarter revenue rose 4% to $3.4 billion, led by a 32% growth in retransmission fees, revenues from CBS Television, and growth of their digital platforms. This continued growth in revenue has allowed for a 6% increase in operating income, now standing at $798 million, with some offset from increased spending in programming. National ad revenue fell 3%, but this was due to preemptions from the Democratic and Republican conventions, the first Presidential Debate, and competition from the Olympics.[4]

Revenues from entertainment rose by 1% to $1.95 billion, while revenues from cable networks were up by 14% to $598 million. Apart from growing retransmission and licensing fees revenue, CBS All-Access and Showtime’s over the top service, now draw in 2 million subscribers collectively. CBS’ decision to stream Star Trek: Discovery, as well as 3 yet unnamed shows, exclusively on All-Access[5], will help them reach their goal of 4 million subscribers by 2020.[6]

On 4 July, 2016, CBS announced that it would be separating its radio business. An IPO will be held in early 2017, with full separation by 2018. After CBS Radio’s 2015 restructuring, total costs amounted to $36.8 million, with $18.9 million in severance payments and $4.4 million in cancelled contracts; in preparation of the departure, CBS Radio has borrowed $1.46 billion through a $1.09 billion senior secured loan due 2023[4].

Live Content


NFL Logo[7]


Logos of Republican and Democratic Parties[8]


Rio 2016 Logo[9]

CBS’s primary television network is one of the most watched in the country, one filled with robust live content. These marquee broadcasts of  both major parties’ conventions, the first Presidential Debate, and broadcasts of the 2016 Olympics attract massive audiences despite advertising revenue losses caused by 10-hours of primetime preemptions [4]. The company had strong ratings in each of the presidential debates, highlighted by the 10.4-rating/15% share they achieved during the second debate[10].  The company has also benefitted from broadcasting NFL football from the AFC conference as well as five Thursday Night Football games per their recent agreement with NBC and the NFL [11].

Original Content


Promotional image for Bull, starring Michael Weatherly(pictured above)[12]


Title Card for Season 5 of The Big Bang Theory[13]

The network is also successful due to its strong history of original content, both new and old. The Big Bang Theory has consistently ranked as a top scripted series this fall, posting strong numbers as a live program (3.1 rating) and syndicated series (5.4 rating)[14]. The show was previously ranked as the most viewed on live television and consistently draws over 14 million live viewers[15]. Currently there are talks to create a spin-off titled Sheldon, produced by the same creators of The Big Bang Theory [16].  CBS’s Bull is TV’s most watched new series based on live and delayed viewing. The drama drew an average of 17.6 million viewers over the shows first six episodes, and is bolstered by strategic scheduling of the program behind the ever-popular NCIS[17]. Kevin Can Wait is TV’s #1 new comedy, drawing an audience average of 11.8 million live and online through week six, and most recently scoring within the top five for new series in total viewers and viewership within the 18-49 year old demographic[17]. With full ownership of all these shows, both old and new, the organization has positioned itself to monetize additional content across all CBS platforms for years to come, as they did so successfully this past year on their over the top services.[4]


Promotional Image for Kevin Can Wait, staring Kevin James(pictured above)[18]

CBS All Access


CBS All Access Logo[19]

In the fall of 2014, CBS Corp. launched “CBS All Access,” a digital subscription package allowing users access to thousands of episodes and full seasons of past and current CBS programming, as well as live stream content, for $5.99 a month. This offer includes current primetime programs made available immediately after first air. This past August 2016, CBS Corp. announced an addition to that existing offer, providing viewers a $9.99-per-month option with no advertisements [20]. Although the live-stream content will continue airing commercials during the broadcast, the ability to stream real-time on any device is a continuation of the company’s priority to provide customers with mass content on wherever platform preferred [21].

While other companies are similarly offering packaging deals, CBS Corp. is more hesitant than other major conglomerates to combine their programs with those offers. AT&T’s DirecTV Now—an over-the-top service offering over 100 channels for $35 per month—will fail to include features of CBS content by launch (November 30th, 2016) due to unsettled financial negotiations. If an agreement remains unachieved, DirecTV Now will become a direct competitor for CBS in providing TV content. And so the potential success of the AT&T owned service without CBS programming could directly threaten CBS’s influence in the industry. However, a DirecTV Now failure to succeed would increase CBS corp.’s leverage[22].

Potential CBS-Viacom Merger

Although CBS Corp. and Viacom (which both remain controlled by the Redstone family through National Amusements) split in 2006, the two separate companies have been collaborating with financial advisors to review a possible re-merger [23].  While the deal would force CBS to inherit Viacom’s debt caused by a decrease in affiliate revenue and yearly net income, CBS Corp. CEO Leslie Moonves recognizes the benefits of securing Viacom owned Paramount Pictures. The potential merger would not only grant CBS possession of MTV, Nickelodeon, and Comedy Central, but also the rights to a studio to create original content to be distributed [24]. If the two companies agree to merge, the partnership will allow heavy leverage for negotiating with cable distributors[25].

CBS Radio Split


CBS Radio Logo[26]

In the spring of 2016, CBS Corp. released a memo regarding the pursuit of CBS Radio transitioning to a standalone company. Shortly after, CBS filed its IPO with the SEC. This past fall, CBS announced a detailed financing plan for the radio business to work as an independent, publicly traded company[4]. Under the name “CBS Radio Inc.,” the division “will eliminate intellectual property licensing agreements with CBS so that it can keep using the “CBS” mark in call letters.” The split will provide CBS Radio an industry advantage because of the current value of the profitable local stations leading in news and sports radio, while additionally offering professional growth for the radio employees. However, the separation will allow CBS Corp. the freedom to utilize operating segments in competition with CBS Radio, which will increase appeal to investors. This is a risk for CBS Radio, which generates much smaller financial resources than their parent company.[28]

Works Cited

  1. CBS Corporation Logo. Digital image. Https:// N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Nov. 2016.
  2. “Timeline: The History of CBS.” N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Nov. 2016
  4. Corporation, CBS. “CBS Corporation Reports Third Quarter 2016 Results.” PR Newswire: Press Release Distribution, Targeting, Monitoring and Marketing. PR Newswire Association LLC, 3 Nov. 2016. Web. 29 Nov. 2016.
  5. “Where Star Trek: Discovery Will Air – CINEMABLEND.” CINEMABLEND. N.p., 2016. Web. 30 Nov. 2016.
  6. Porch, Scott. “CBS Digital Chief Says CBS All Access Targeting to Hit 4 Million Subscribers by 2020.” Decider | Where To Stream Movies &Amp; Shows on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Instant, HBO Go, 16 Nov. 2016,
  7. NFL Logo. Digital image. Http:// N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Nov. 2016.
  8. Republican and Democratic Party Symbols. Digital image. Https:// N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Nov. 2016.
  9. 2015 Rio Olympics Logo. Digital image. Http:// N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Nov. 2016..
  10. Littleton, Cynthia, and Oriana Schwindt. “Trump-Clinton Second Debate Ratings Fall 21% With 66.5 Million Viewers.” Variety. Variety Media, 10 Oct. 2016. Web. 29 Nov. 2016.
  11. Deitsch, Richard. “NBC, CBS to Split Two-year, $450 Mil. Thursday Night Football Package.” N.p., 1 Feb. 2016. Web. 28 Nov. 2016.
  12. Bull Title Card. Digital image. Http:// N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Nov. 2016
  13. The Big Bang Theory Title Card. Digital image. Http:// N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Nov. 2016.
  14. Porter, Rick. “‘Big Bang Theory,’ ‘Empire’ and Football Lead Week 9: Broadcast Top 25 and Network Rankings.” TV By The Numbers by Tribune Media Company, 22 Nov. 2016. Web. 29 Nov. 2016. / Porter, Rick. “Syndicated TV Ratings: ‘Ellen’ Ties ‘Live with Kelly’ in the Week of Nov. 7-13.” TV By The Numbers by Tribune Media Company, 23 Nov. 2016. Web. 29 Nov. 2016.
  15. Levin, Gary. “New TV Season Finds Hits (‘Bull,’ ‘Survivor’), but More Misses (‘Exorcist,’ Anyone?).” USA Today. Gannett Satellite Information Network, 26 Oct. 2016. Web. 29 Nov. 2016.
  16. Andreeva, Nellie. “‘The Big Bang Theory’ Eyes Young Sheldon Spinoff Prequel Series On CBS.” Deadline. Penske Business Media, 07 Nov. 2016. Web. 29 Nov. 2016.
  17. “2016-17 Season Ratings for New TV Shows (week 9) – Canceled TV Shows – TV Series Finale.” Canceled TV Shows – TV Series Finale. TV Series Finale, 22 Nov. 2016. Web. 29 Nov. 2016.
  18. Kevin Can Wait Promo Card. Digital image. Http:// CBS, n.d. Web. 29 Nov. 2016.
  19. CBS All Access Promo Card. Digital image. Http:// N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Nov. 2016.
  20. “CBS Launches Commercial-Free Streaming Option.” The Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones & Company, n.d. Web. 29 Nov. 2016.
  22. “AT&T’s Online Version of DirecTV Said to Launch Without CBS.” Bloomberg, n.d. Web. 29 Nov. 2016.
  23. “Viacom and CBS Boards Hire Advisers for Potential Merger.” The Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones & Company, n.d. Web. 29 Nov. 2016.
  24. Lee, Edmund. “Here’s What It Would Take for CBS and Viacom to Merge.” Recode. N.p., 28 Sept. 2016. Web. 29 Nov. 2016.
  25. Https:// “Shari Redstone Said CBS, Viacom Are Right to Explore Merger.” CNBC. CNBC, 14 Nov. 2016. Web. 29 Nov. 2016.
  26. CBS Radio Logo. Digital image. Https:// N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Nov. 2016.
  28. “After Split, CBS Radio Will Make a Name For Itself.” N.p., 12 July 2016. Web. 29 Nov. 2016.