What Are The Key Factors Driving Revenue Growth For CBS Corp?

by Trefis Team
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CBS Corporation (NYSE: CBS) has successfully added close to $1.35 billion in revenues over the last two years, from $13.17 billion in 2016 to $14.51 billion in 2018. Higher revenue was driven by growth across all major operating divisions of the company, led by higher subscription fees, growth in streaming service, acquisition benefits of Network 10, and growth in local media revenues due to mid-term elections in 2018. However, revenue growth is expected to accelerate with the company projected to add about $1.37 billion in revenues over the next two years, as the revenue base is expected to grow from $14.5 billion in 2018 to $15.9 billion in 2020.

To understand the different factors leading to higher revenues and a detailed segment-wise revenue performance, view the Trefis interactive dashboard – CBS Corp Revenues: How Does CBS Corp Make Money?

CBS Corp’s Business Model

CBS is a diversified media company with the following 4 operating divisions-

Entertainment: This segment consists of the CBS Television Network; CBS Television Studios and CBS Global Distribution Group, the Company’s television production and syndication operations; Network 10, the Company’s commercial broadcast network in Australia; CBS Interactive, the Company’s online content networks for information and entertainment;  CBS Sports Network, the Company’s cable network focused on college athletics and other sports; CBS Films; and the Company’s direct-to-consumer digital streaming services  CBS All Access, CBSN, CBS Sports HQ, ET Live,  and 10 All Access.

Cable Networks: This segment is composed of Showtime Networks, which operates the Company’s premium subscription program services and a direct-to-consumer digital streaming subscription offering; and Smithsonian Networks, a venture with Smithsonian Institution, which operates Smithsonian Channel and a direct-to-consumer digital streaming subscription service.

Local Media: This segment is composed of CBS Television Stations, the Company’s 29 owned broadcast television stations. The licenses are renewable every eight years. The Company’s television stations are located in the 5 largest, and 15 of the top 20, television markets in the U.S. The stations produce news and broadcast public affairs, sports and other programming to serve their local markets and offer CBS, The CW, or MyNetworkTV programming and syndicated programming.

Publishing: The Publishing segment consists of Simon & Schuster, which publishes and distributes consumer books in the U.S. and internationally.

Segment-Wise Revenue Performance


  • Entertainment revenue increased from $9 billion in 2016 to $10.2 billion in 2018, driven by growth in affiliate and subscription fee revenues, primarily as a result of higher station affiliation fees and growth from the Company’s direct-to-consumer streaming service, CBS All Access, and the acquisition of Network 10.
  • Entertainment revenue is expected to increase from $10.2 billion in 2018 to $11.5 billion in 2020.
  • Revenue growth is expected to increase in the near term, led by CBS’ broadcast of Super Bowl LIII and the national semifinals and championship game of the NCAA Tournament.

Cable Networks

  • Cable Networks revenue decreased in 2018 mainly due to a higher base in 2017 due to Showtime Networks’ distribution of the Floyd Mayweather/Conor McGregor pay-per-view boxing event in 2017.
  • However, revenue is expected to rise in the near term, from $2.2 billion in 2018 to $2.3 billion in 2020, led by growth from the Showtimedigital streaming subscription offering and the inclusion of the results of Pop.

Local Media

  • Revenue increased in 2018 due to higher advertising revenues, driven by record political advertising sales associated with the 2018 midterm elections, and growth in re-transmission and subscription fees.
  • Revenue growth is expected to continue in the near term, with the segment expected to add $0.1 billion by 2020, led by growth in re-transmission revenues and CBS’ broadcasts of Super Bowl LIII and the national semifinals and championship game of the NCAA Tournament.


Publishing Revenue decreased in 2018 and the trend is expected to continue with revenue expected to decrease from $825 million in 2018 to $800 million in 2020, primarily reflecting lower print book sales.

To understand how CBS Corp’s revenue growth compares with its major peers, view our interactive dashboard analysis.


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