NEW YORK (AP) — CBS Corp. on Wednesday reported fourth-quarter earnings and revenue growth that beat Wall Street expectations, posting flat advertising revenue but growth in content licensing thanks to the sale of shows such as "Hawaii Five-O" for domestic reruns.
Along with the earnings announcement, the company said it would quadruple the pace of its share buybacks in the current quarter as it spends cash raised from the pending spin-off of its outdoor billboard business.
CEO Les Moonves also told analysts on a conference call that the company was setting its sights on generating $2 billion a year in 2020 from so-called "retransmission fees" that it gets from cable and satellite distributors for the right to carry CBS content.
Those fees were at the heart of a dispute between CBS and Time Warner Cable Inc. last fall that resulted in a monthlong blackout. The goal is up from $1 billion a year the company is eyeing for 2017.
"Looking down the road, we don't think it's a tough putt to get to that $2 billion," Moonves said.
Investors cheered the upbeat news, sending shares up $2.80, or 4.5 percent, to $64.65 in after-hours trading. Earlier, shares had closed up 95 cents at $61.85.
Net income in the three months through Dec. 31 rose to $470 million, or 76 cents per share, from $393 million, or 60 cents per share, a year earlier.