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CBS Corporation (CBS)

Q4 2009 Earnings Call

February 18, 2010 4:30 PM EST


Adam Townsend – EVP of IR

Sumner Redstone - Executive Chairman

Leslie Moonves – President and CEO

Joseph Ianniello – EVP and CFO


Ben Swinburne – Morgan Stanley

Anthony DiClemente – Barclays Capital

Laura Martin – Needham

Doug Mitchelson – Deutsche Bank

Michael Morris – UBS

Richard Greenfield – Pali Capital

Michael Nathanson – Bernstein Research

Michael Mills – JPMorgan

Marci Ryvicker – Wells Fargo Securities



Good day, everyone and welcome to the CBS Corporation’s fourth quarter 2009 earnings release teleconference. Today’s call is being recorded. At this time, I would like to turn the call over to the Executive Vice President of Investor Relations, Mr. Adam Townsend. Please go ahead, sir.

Adam Townsend

Thank you, Ricci (ph). Good afternoon, everyone and welcome to our fourth quarter and full-year 2009 earnings call. Joining me for today's discussion are Sumner Redstone, our Executive Chairman; Leslie Moonves, President and CEO; and Joe Ianniello, Executive Vice President and CFO.

Sumner will have opening remarks and we'll then turn the call over to Les and Joe who will discuss the strategic and financial results. We will then open the call up to questions.

Let me note that statements on this conference call relating to matters which are not historical facts are forward-looking statements which involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ. Risks and uncertainties are disclosed in CBS Corporation's news releases and securities filings. A webcast of this call and the earnings release related to today's presentation can be found on the Investor Relations section of our website at

Reconciliations for non-GAAP financial information related to this call can be found in our earnings release, our full-year Form 10-K or on our website.

With that, it’s now my pleasure to turn the call over to Sumner.

Sumner Redstone

Thank you, Adam. Good afternoon, everyone. I thank you for being with us today. I am certain that all of you know how delighted I am to be speaking to you today in the light of the fabulous results shown by CBS, and the terrific performance of Les and his team. In the past year, CBS reduced expenses, improved its financial position, and ensured that all the right people and processes were in place, so that CBS would significantly outperform as the market turned and the market is turning. With disciplined management and a solid long-term strategy for growth, there is no economic storm that a company like CBS cannot weather.

With all of this, one thing is for sure content is king and will also be king. And no one has better content out there than CBS and one other company whose name I cannot mention today. Our content focus continues to pay off throughout the company. CBS, the perennial number one network has more new and returning hit shows than any other network. Showtime continues its creative and financial role. We are growing our presence in all the most important areas of the digital world. On the logo front, our focus on the largest TV and Radio markets means we are in the right place as these businesses are rapidly improve and they are improving. Through hard work, through determination, Les and his team have put CBS in a position to reap the benefits of the improving economic environment, which we are witnessing today.

It is Les and his team, have done it every possible thing this past year to ensure that CBS is on the path to succeed. But let there be no misunderstanding, our fourth quarter results are not only the sign of the momentum we have gained across all our companies, but remember this, they are a preview of great things to come well into the future.

Leslie Moonves

Thank you, Sumner, and good afternoon, everybody. Thank you for joining us today. We are pleased to be giving you a look at a very good quarter. We have managed our way through a difficult economic environment and emerged even stronger. And we are now being helped by a marketplace that is steadily improvement. This is a message that you have heard from our peers in recent weeks and we are clearly a prime beneficiary of the recovering economy. The pacing games we saw throughout the fourth quarter of gathering even more momentum in 2010.

Today I am going to briefly review our fourth quarters and operational highlights and discuss what we are seeing in 2010. And then I will turn it over to our CFO Joe Ianniello to offer some more details on our financials and balance sheet. And then we will happily take your questions.

As we promised, each quarter in 2009 came in better than the one before. The second was better than the first, the third was better than the second culminating in the fourth quarter where we had our best revenue performance of the year. Our revenues of $3.5 billion were virtually even with the same quarter last year. And our second half revenues were up 11% over the first half, once again speaking to our own momentum. Also on the adjusted basis, our OIBDA, operating income and EPS were all up double digits. The revenue picture continues to brighten for us largely due to the strength of our industry-leading content and the improvements in our local businesses.

On the content side, CBS is the most watched network on television. And we are selling our hit shows into syndication earlier at better rates and to a broader global audience than ever. Our premium cable network Showtime continues to add subscribers and grow its revenues and profits. We are also expanding and monetizing our leading global online presence and more efficiently distributing our content in major local TV and Radio markets. Our fourth quarter results reflect all of this as well as the improved business marketplace. At the same time we spent the past year working to reduce our cost structure across the company. We have recently removed $250 million in expenses and our commitment to containing these expenses will continue.

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