Political Ads Drive Q3 Earnings At CBS As It Reveals Data And Audience Platform

CBS is reaping the benefits of a politically-charged midterm election season.

The broadcast titan told investors Thursday it exceeded its Q3 earnings forecasts. Total revenue increased 3% to $3.26 billion and quarterly earnings increased $1.24 per share, up from $1.11 per share in Q3 2017.

This marks the fourth consecutive quarter in which CBS has outperformed its forecasted earnings.

Advertising fueled CBS’s success this quarter. David Bank, SVP of investor relations at CBS Corp., told investors advertising grew 14% internationally. He attributed this to CBS’s acquisition of Australian broadcaster Ten Network back in November 2017.

We remain on track to achieve about $4 billion in network advertising for 2018, which is consistent with prior years,” Bank said.

Q3 advertising in the United States also grew 4%, primarily because of heavy political ad spending ahead of the 2018 midterm elections. In local markets, revenue shot up 9% to $434 million. The company says this could be a “record-setting” season for political ad spend.

“It’s going to be a hell of a year for local political advertising,” said Joseph R. Ianniello, interim CEO of CBS Corp.

CBS is also launching a new data and audience platform, aptly named DnA. It will allow advertisers to buy inventory across linear TV and video on demand based on audience behavior, not just age and gender.

“Advertisers can target people who like to eat out and drive SUVs rather than just buy the broad demographic of adults between the ages of 25 and 54,” Bank said.

NBCUniversal also provides the capability to find and buy audience segments within its Audience Studio product suite. Disney-ABC has also spent the last year positioning itself as a “one-stop shop for advertising clients,” the company’s president, Ben Sherwood, told Deadline in February 2017.

Bank did not elaborate on how long it would take CBS to fully roll out its DnA platform.

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