CBS Corp Chief Executive Leslie Moonves is optimistic about 2011 advertising trends and expects the brisk pacing of ad revenue growth to continue in the first quarter.
Moonves said that CBS is anticipated to have an extremely strong upfront market this spring, the annual period when advertisers book the bulk of commercial time for the year.
CBS, home to the most-watched U.S. broadcast network, reported in November that advertising revenue increased 10 percent in the third quarter year-over-year.
I know I sound very bullish on the company, Moonves said at the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference in New York on Tuesday. Overall we have a lot to be proud about.
Indeed, television is enjoying an advertising rebound and is growing its share of total advertising spend, according to several forecasts.
Moonves also addressed the several devices and services -- like Apple Inc's TV, Google TV and Netflix Inc -- that are attempting to deliver TV shows and movies from the Internet to TV sets. CBS, which has hit shows like Hawaii 5-O, has remained more cautious than other media companies about making its content available on these platforms.
For instance, CBS -- along with several other media conglomerates -- blocked its content from Google TV, and is the only major broadcaster that is not involved with Hulu.
The good news for us, as all these platforms develop, is that we are a primary provider of premium content, Moonves said. Anyway you look at it we are going to get paid for it ... Caution is not a bad thing here.
CBS shares are up about 25 percent year-to-date and the company authorized in November a $1.5 billion share repurchase program. Moonves did not rule out the possibility of a dividend increase next year as well but said that any future mergers and acquisition activity was off the table.