Investors Say "Aye" To The Eye
Investors and analysts appear to have revised their view of CBS Corp. as the media conglomerate most exposed to the threat of another economic downturn. In the past Wall Street forecasters have generally warned that the company is at the mercy of its advertising clients, who generally cut ad spending when times become rough. But on Monday Morgan Stanley analyst Benjamin Swinburne observed that such is no longer the case -- and pointed to CBS's recent online deals -- with Amazon to stream 2,000 episodes of eighteen CBS shows and with Netflix to stream current and future programs broadcast by the CW (in which CBS holds a 50-percent stake with Warner Bros.). CBS, he noted, also can see a significant lift in profits from retransmission deals with cable companies and from sales of distribution rights to overseas broadcasters. Though CBS could indeed take a hit from lower ad sales, he conceded, it would nevertheless experience "more gain than pain." Swinburne predicted that through 2015 CBS "will grow EPS [earnings per share] by 25 percent annually" the highest rate of any stock that he follows.