SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE
SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2018
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the transition period from to
Commission File Number 001-09553
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
(State or other jurisdiction of
incorporation or organization)
51 W. 52nd Street
New York, NY 10019
(Address, including zip code, and telephone number,
including area code, of registrant’s principal executive offices)
Securities Registered Pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of Each Class
Name of Each Exchange on
Class A Common Stock, $0.001 par value
New York Stock Exchange
Class B Common Stock, $0.001 par value
New York Stock Exchange
Securities Registered Pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:
(Title of Class)
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer (as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act of 1933). Yes x No o
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Yes o No x
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes x No o
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that registrant was required to submit such files). Yes x No o
Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of the registrant’s knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this
Form 10-K. o
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.
Large accelerated filer x
Accelerated filer o
Non-accelerated filer o
Smaller reporting company o
Emerging growth company o
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. o
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934). Yes o No x
As of June 29, 2018, which was the last business day of the registrant’s most recently completed second fiscal quarter, the market value of the shares of CBS Corporation Class A Common Stock,$0.001 par value (“Class A Common Stock”), held by non-affiliates was approximately $430,735,007 (based upon the closing price of $56.49 per share as reported by the New York Stock Exchange on that date) and the market value of the shares of CBS Corporation Class B Common Stock, $0.001 par value (“Class B Common Stock”), held by non-affiliates was approximately $18,367,556,649 (based upon the closing price of $56.22 per share as reported by the New York Stock Exchange on that date); and the aggregate market value of the shares of both Class A Common Stock and Class B Common Stock held by non-affiliates was $18,798,291,656.
As of February 13, 2019, 25,293,972 shares of Class A Common Stock and 347,676,011 shares of Class B Common Stock were outstanding.
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Portions of CBS Corporation’s Notice of 2019 Annual Meeting of Stockholders and Proxy Statement to be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission pursuant to Regulation 14A of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (Part III).
TABLE OF CONTENTS
CBS Corporation (together with its consolidated subsidiaries unless the context otherwise requires, the “Company” or “CBS Corp.”) is a mass media company with operations in the following segments:
ENTERTAINMENT: The Entertainment segment is composed of the CBS® Television Network; CBS Television Studios®; CBS Global Distribution Group™ (composed of CBS Studios International™ and CBS Television Distribution™); Network 10™; CBS Interactive®; 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: The Cable Networks segment is composed of Showtime Networks, which operates the Company’s premium subscription program services Showtime®, The Movie Channel® and Flix®, and a direct-to-consumer digital streaming subscription offering; and Smithsonian Networks™, a venture between Showtime Networks and Smithsonian Institution, which operates Smithsonian Channel™, a basic cable program service, and Smithsonian Channel Plus™, a direct-to-consumer digital streaming subscription service.
PUBLISHING: The Publishing segment is composed of Simon & Schuster, which publishes and distributes consumer books under imprints such as Simon & Schuster®, Pocket Books®, Scribner®, Gallery Books® and Atria Books®.
LOCAL MEDIA: The Local Media segment is composed of CBS Television Stations, the Company’s 29 owned broadcast television stations; and CBS Local Digital Media™, which operates local Websites including content from the Company’s television stations.
For the year ended December 31, 2018, contributions to the Company’s consolidated revenues from its segments were as follows: Entertainment 70%, Cable Networks 15%, Publishing 6% and Local Media 13%. The Company generated approximately 17% of its total revenues from international regions in 2018. For the year ended December 31, 2018, approximately 44% and 11% of total international revenues of approximately $2.54 billion were generated in Europe and Canada, respectively.
The Company operates businesses which span the media and entertainment industries, including the CBS Television Network, cable networks, content production and distribution, television stations, direct-to-consumer digital streaming services and other internet-based businesses, and consumer publishing. The Company’s principal strategy is to create and acquire premium content that is widely accepted by audiences and generate affiliate and subscription fee, licensing and advertising revenues from the distribution of this content on multiple media platforms and to various geographic locations. The Company plans to increase its investment in premium content to enhance its opportunities for revenue growth, which include exhibiting the Company’s content on its direct-to-consumer digital streaming services; expanding the distribution of its content internationally; and securing compensation from multichannel video programming distributors (“MVPDs”), including cable, direct broadcast satellite (“DBS”), telephone company, and other distributors, as well as third-party live television digital streaming offerings (“virtual MVPDs”), for authorizing the MVPDs’ and virtual MVPDs’ carriage of the Company’s owned television stations (also known as “retransmission fees”) and cable networks, and securing compensation from television stations affiliated with the CBS Television Network (“station affiliation fees,” also known as “reverse compensation”). The Company also seeks to grow its advertising revenues by monetizing all content viewership as industry measurements evolve to reflect viewers’ changing habits.
The Company competes with many different entities and media in various markets worldwide. In addition to competition in each of its businesses, the Company competes for opportunities in the entertainment business with other diversified entertainment companies such as The Walt Disney Company, NBCUniversal Media, LLC, Twenty-First Century Fox, Inc. and the WarnerMedia segment of AT&T Inc., formerly Time Warner Inc.
During the fourth quarter of 2018, the Company began presenting CBS Sports Network in the Entertainment segment to reflect changes in management structure and the integration of CBS Sports Network programming with the CBS Television Network. CBS Sports Network was previously included in the Cable Networks segment. Results for all periods presented have been reclassified to conform to this presentation. Also during the fourth quarter of 2018, in connection with recent management changes, the Company implemented changes to its programming strategy, primarily at CBS Films, which will shift its focus from theatrical films to developing content for the Company’s direct-to-consumer digital streaming services.
As of February 13, 2019, National Amusements, Inc. (“NAI”), a closely held corporation that owns and operates approximately 950 movie screens in the U.S., the United Kingdom (“U.K.”) and South America and manages 4 movie screens in South America, directly or indirectly owned approximately 79.8% of the Company’s voting Class A Common Stock, and approximately 10.5% of the Company’s Class A Common Stock and Class B Common Stock on a combined basis. Owners of the Class A Common Stock are entitled to one vote per share. The Class B Common Stock does not have voting rights. NAI is not subject to the reporting requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended.
The Company was organized in Delaware in 1986. The Company’s principal offices are located at 51 W. 52nd Street, New York, New York 10019. Its telephone number is (212) 975-4321 and its Website address is www.cbscorporation.com.
CBS CORP. BUSINESS SEGMENTS
Entertainment (70% of the Company’s consolidated revenues in 2018, and 68% of the Company’s consolidated revenues in each of 2017 and 2016, and 55%, 54% and 53% of the Company’s total segment operating income in 2018, 2017 and 2016, respectively)
The Entertainment segment consists of the CBS Television Network; CBS Television Studios and CBS Global Distribution Group (composed of CBS Studios International and CBS Television Distribution), 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.
Television Network. The CBS Television Network through CBS Entertainment™, CBS News® and CBS Sports® distributes a comprehensive schedule of news and public affairs broadcasts, sports and entertainment programming to more than 200 domestic affiliates reaching throughout the U.S., including 15 of the Company’s owned and operated television stations, and to affiliated stations in certain U.S. territories.
The CBS Television Network primarily derives revenues from the sale of advertising time for its network broadcasts. A significant portion of the sale of advertising spots for the network’s non-sports programming occurs annually generally during May through July in the industry’s upfront advertising market for the upcoming television broadcast season, which runs for one year generally commencing in mid-September. Overall advertising revenue for the network is also impacted by audience ratings for its programming and market conditions, including demand in the scatter advertising market, in which advertisers purchase the remaining advertising spots closer to the broadcast of the related programming. The Company offers dynamic advertising insertions for the CBS Television Network’s on-demand programming, which allows the Company to change advertisements at any time within such programming and offer advertisers greater audience reach. The Company is focused on developing advanced advertising products
that enable advertisers to target specific audience segments. In addition, the CBS Television Network’s revenues include station affiliation fees.
CBS Entertainment is responsible for acquiring or developing and scheduling the entertainment programming presented on the CBS Television Network, which includes primetime comedy and drama series, reality‑based programming, specials, children’s programs, daytime dramas, game shows and late-night programs such as The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. During 2018, the CBS Television Network broadcast the Tony Awards®, the Kennedy Center Honors and the Grammy Awards®. The Company won 20 awards at the 45th Annual Daytime Emmy® Awards in April 2018. CBS News operates a worldwide news organization, providing the CBS Television Network and CBS News Radio™ with regularly scheduled news and public affairs broadcasts, including 60 Minutes, 48 Hours, CBS Evening News, CBS This Morning, CBS Sunday Morning and Face the Nation as well as special reports. CBS News also provides CBS Newspath®, a television news syndication service that offers daily news coverage, sports highlights and news features to the CBS Television Network affiliates and other subscribers worldwide. CBS Sports broadcasts on the television network include The NFL Today; certain PGA Tour Golf Tournaments, the Masters and the PGA Championship, for which the Company extended its broadcast rights in October 2018 through 2030; certain games from the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament through 2032; regular-season college basketball games; regular-season college football games, including games from the Southeastern Conference and the NFL’s American Football Conference (AFC) regular-season, post-season wild card playoff, divisional playoff and championship games. In 2018, CBS broadcast certain AFC games under its agreement with the NFL to broadcast the AFC package through the 2022 season, which also includes certain National Football Conference regular season games and the Super Bowl, which is broadcast on the CBS Television Network on a rotating basis with other networks. The Company’s most recent Super Bowl broadcast was in February 2019.
CBS Television Network content also is exhibited via the internet, including through CBS.com™, CBSSports.com® and related software applications (“apps”); the Company’s direct-to-consumer services, such as CBSN, the Company’s live digital streaming advertiser-supported news network available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, CBSN New York and CBS All Access, the Company’s digital streaming subscription service which includes a commercial-free option for on-demand content; and virtual MVPDs, such as DIRECTV NOW, Hulu with Live TV and YouTube TV. CBS All Access offers both current and library programming as well as original series, such as The Good Fight, Star Trek: Discovery, No Activity, Strange Angel and Tell Me a Story and the new upcoming The Twilight Zone series and CBSN’s live and original reporting. All NFL games broadcast by the CBS Television Network are streamed on CBS All Access platforms under the Company’s multi-year deal with the NFL. Digital streaming services that provide video content, including from broadcast and/or cable channels, streamed via the internet to users who are not required to have a subscription to an MVPD (such as virtual MVPDs and direct-to-consumer services) are known as over-the-top or “OTT” services. Digital streaming services that do not require payment to a third party are known as “direct-to-consumer” services, such as CBS All Access. CBS All Access and CBSN are available at CBS.com and CBSNews.com™, respectively, and/or through CBS apps on multiple digital platforms, including Android, iOS, Amazon Fire and Windows 10 mobile platforms, and Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV, Amazon Channels, Chromecast, PlayStation, Roku, Samsung Smart TVs and Xbox connected device platforms, among others.
The CW, a broadcast network and the Company’s 50/50 joint venture with Warner Bros. Entertainment, airs programming, including Charmed, Dynasty, Supergirl and The Flash. Eight of the Company’s owned television stations are affiliates of The CW. Certain of The CW’s series are streamed on Netflix, a subscription video-on-demand service. The CW programming is also available via The CW app on multiple digital platforms, including Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, Xbox and mobile devices.
Television Production and Syndication. CBS Television Studios and CBS Global Distribution Group produce, acquire and/or distribute programming worldwide, including series, specials, news and public affairs, and generate revenue principally from the licensing and distribution of such programming. The programming is produced primarily for broadcast on network television, exhibition on basic cable and premium subscription services, streaming services or distribution via first-run syndication. First-run syndication is programming exhibited on television stations without prior exhibition on a network or cable service. The Company subsequently distributes programming after its initial exhibition on a network, basic cable network or premium subscription service for domestic exhibition on television
stations, cable networks or streaming services (known as “off-network syndicated programming”). Off-network syndicated programming and first‑run syndicated programming distributed domestically, as well as programming distributed internationally, can sometimes be sold in successive cycles of sales known as “first cycle” sales, “second cycle” sales, and so on, which may occur on exclusive or non-exclusive bases. Generally, license fees may decrease with successive sales cycles due to increased program exhibitions.
Programming that was produced or co-produced by the Company’s production group and is broadcast on network television includes, among others, FBI (CBS), Seal Team (CBS), NCIS (CBS), Bull (CBS), Magnum P.I. (CBS), Madam Secretary (CBS), Criminal Minds (CBS), Charmed (The CW) and Jane the Virgin (The CW). Generally, a network will license a specified number of episodes for broadcast on the network in the U.S. during a license period. Remaining distribution rights, including international and/or off‑network syndication rights, are typically retained by the Company or, in the case of co-productions, distribution rights are shared with the co-producer for U.S. or international markets. The network license fee for a series episode is normally lower than the costs of producing the episode; however, the Company’s objective is to recoup its costs and earn a profit through various forms of distribution, including international licensing, domestic syndication and digital streaming of episodes. Generally, international sales of network series are made within one year of the U.S. network run and series must have a network run of at least three or four years to be successfully sold in domestic off-network syndication; however, increasingly, these time frames are being shortened, particularly for sales to digital streaming services. In off-network syndication, the Company distributes series, such as Hawaii Five-O, Criminal Minds, Blue Bloods, Elementary, NCIS, NCIS: Los Angeles and NCIS: New Orleans as well as a library of older television programs. The Company also produces and/or distributes first-run syndicated series such as Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy!, Entertainment Tonight, Inside Edition, Dr. Phil, The Doctors, Rachael Ray, Hot Bench and Judge Judy and produces The Good Fight, Star Trek: Discovery, No Activity, Strange Angel and Tell Me a Story for streaming on CBS All Access. The Company also distributes syndicated and other programming internationally.
The Company continues to monetize its content through digital media. It enters into and renews numerous multi-year licensing agreements for distribution of certain of its programming to various services reaching countries throughout the world, particularly the U.S., Canada and in Europe. These services include digital streaming on subscription or advertiser-supported video-on-demand services, including services by Amazon, Bell Media, Hotstar, Netflix, Stan Entertainment and Telefonica; virtual MVPDs, including DIRECTV NOW, Hulu with Live TV and YouTube TV; and digital downloading on various electronic sell-through services owned by Amazon, Apple, Google and Microsoft, among others.
Fees for television programming licensed for syndication and digital streaming are recorded as revenues at the beginning of the license period in which the programs are made available for exhibition, which, among other reasons, may cause substantial fluctuations in the Entertainment segment’s operating results. Unrecognized revenues attributable to such license agreements were $1.08 billion and $670 million at December 31, 2018 and December 31, 2017, respectively.
In November 2017, the Company acquired Ten Network Holdings Limited, one of three major commercial broadcast networks in Australia. Network 10 includes the channels 10™, 10 Bold™ and 10 Peach™ which broadcast a mix of entertainment, drama, news and sports programming, such as Australian Survivor, Have You Been Paying Attention? and The Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix. Network 10 also includes the digital platforms 10 Play™, 10 Daily™ as well as 10 All Access, a direct-to-consumer digital streaming subscription service in Australia, which the Company launched in December 2018, featuring programming from the Company and Network 10. Network 10 principally derives revenue from the sale of advertising for its network broadcasts and related digital services.
The Company also has interests in domestic and international joint ventures. The Company owns a 50% interest in a joint venture with Lionsgate, which owns and operates the entertainment cable network Pop®. The Company owns a 49% interest in a joint venture with a subsidiary of AMC Networks Inc., which owns and operates channels in the U.K. and Ireland, including CBS Justice™, CBS Drama™, CBS Reality™ and Horror Channel™. The Company also owns a 30% interest in a joint venture with another subsidiary of AMC Networks, which owns and operates cable and satellite channels in Europe, the Middle East and Africa broadcasting CBS programming and branded as CBS Justice, CBS Reality and CBS Europa™.
CBS Interactive. CBS Interactive is one of the leading global publishers of premium content on the internet, delivering this content via Web properties, mobile properties and CBS apps on mobile, as well as internet-connected television and other device platform apps. CBS Interactive is ranked among the top internet properties in the world according to comScore Media Metrix. CBS Interactive’s leading brands, including CNET®, CBS.com™, CBS All Access, CBSSports.com, CBS Sports HQ, 247Sports®, GameSpot®, MaxPreps®, ET Live, TVGuide.com™, CBSNews.com™, CBSN, ZDNet®, Last.fm®, and MetroLyrics.com®, among others, serve targeted audiences with text, video, audio, and mobile content spanning technology, entertainment, sports, news, business, gaming and music categories. In addition to its U.S.-based business, which reached approximately 165 million U.S. unique monthly visitors during December 2018 according to comScore Media Metrix, January 2019, CBS Interactive operates in Asia, Australia and Europe.
CBS Interactive generates revenue principally from the sale of advertising and sponsorships, in addition to fees derived from subscriptions, license fees, search and commerce partners, e-commerce activities, and other paid services. Advertising spending on the internet, as in traditional media, fluctuates significantly with economic conditions. In addition, online marketing spending follows seasonal consumer behavior throughout the calendar year to reflect trends during the calendar year.
CBS Interactive owns and operates digital properties, including: CNET, one of the preeminent digital properties for technology and consumer electronics information and featuring news, reviews, downloads and instructional and entertaining video and audio shows about technology; CNET en Espanol®, which delivers CNET.com’s information in the U.S. to Spanish speakers; TVGuide Digital™, which provides comprehensive information about television programming; GameSpot, a leading gaming information digital property providing video game reviews and previews, news, eSports, Webcasts, videos, and game downloads; Last.fm, which is a music recommendation, discovery and social networking property; MetroLyrics.com, which is one of the most popular databases for song lyrics online; and TV.com, which is a destination for entertainment and community around television where visitors can watch videos and discuss and obtain information about television shows across all networks.
CBS Interactive also operates CBS.com, the online destination for CBS Television Network programming. Further extending the CBS.com experience, the Company offers a CBS app for on-demand streaming of various programs from the Company’s current network and library programming to users on multiple digital platforms, including Android, iOS, Amazon Fire and Windows 10 mobile platforms, and Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV, Amazon Channels, Chromecast, PlayStation, Roku, Samsung Smart TVs and Xbox connected device platforms, among others. CBS Interactive operates CBSNews.com, the online destination for CBS News content, and offers an app for on-demand screening of current and library news programming and the content published on the website. CBS Interactive also operates CBSSportsDigital™, the online destination for CBS Sports content, including CBSSports.com, which provides sports content, fantasy sports, and community and e-commerce features; Max Preps; 247Sports; Scout; and BoxingScene®. Further extending the CBSSports.com experience, the Company offers an app for on-demand viewing of certain sports events broadcast on CBS as well as scores, news, standings and other sports information.
CBS Interactive operates CBS All Access, the Company’s direct-to-consumer digital streaming subscription service, which includes a commercial-free option for on-demand content. CBS All Access offers an on-demand selection of both current and library programming and original series, such as The Good Fight, Star Trek: Discovery, No Activity, Strange Angel and Tell Me a Story and the new upcoming The Twilight Zone series; and CBSN’s live and original reporting as well as the ability to stream live programming from local CBS Television Stations and certain CBS television station affiliates. All NFL games broadcast by the CBS Television Network are streamed on CBS All Access platforms. CBS All Access is available at CBS.com and on the multiple digital platforms described above through the CBS app in the U.S. and Canada. In April 2018, the Company launched CBS All Access in Canada. CBS Interactive also operates CBSN, a direct-to-consumer digital streaming live, advertiser-supported news network available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In December 2018, the Company launched CBSN New York, a direct-to-consumer digital streaming live, advertiser-supported local news network available 24 hours a day, seven days a week that complements CBSN and streams news events from the Company’s owned television stations in New York. CBSN is available at CBSNews.com and on the multiple digital platforms described above through the CBS News app. and through CBS Television Stations’ websites and mobile apps.
CBS Interactive also operates CBS Sports HQ, a direct-to-consumer digital streaming live, advertiser-supported sports news and highlights service available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, which launched in February 2018; ET Live, a direct-to-consumer digital streaming advertiser-supported service based on the Entertainment Tonight brand covering entertainment stories and trends available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, which launched in October 2018; and 10 All Access, a direct-to-consumer digital streaming subscription service in Australia, which launched in December 2018, featuring programming from the Company and Network 10. Through the CBS Audience Network™, the Company delivers video content from its digital properties and television stations and affiliated television stations under an advertiser-supported distribution model to third-party digital properties. The growing slate of the Company’s content available online includes full episodes, clips and highlights based on CBS, CBS Sports Network and Showtime Networks programming as well as original made-for-the-Web content.
CBS Sports Network. CBS Sports Network is a 24 hours a day, seven days a week cable program service that provides sports and related content, with a strong focus on college sports. The network televises over 700 live professional, amateur and collegiate events annually, highlighted by Division I college football, basketball, hockey and lacrosse, as well as professional bull riding (PBR) and various styles of motor sports events (including asphalt, dirt, and off road racing). In addition, the network showcases a variety of original programming, including documentaries, features and studio shows, highlighted by NFL Monday QB, That Other Pre-Game Show (TOPS), Inside College Basketball, Inside College Football, Time to Schein and a first of its kind all-female panel talk show, We Need to Talk. CBS Sports Network also provides ancillary coverage for CBS Sports relating to major events, such as the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament, Masters Tournament and PGA Championship, and for Showtime Networks relating to Showtime Championship Boxing. CBS Sports Network produces weekday simulcasts of the radio shows The Morning Show with Boomer and Gio, Tiki and Tierney and The Jim Rome Show. Further, CBS Sports Network televises a diverse slate of additional programming under the CBS Sports Spectacular™ brand, including mixed martial arts, skiing, bowling, surfing, boxing, horse racing, volleyball and cheerleading, among other events. The network derives its revenues from subscription fees and the sale of advertising. CBS Sports Network has secured carriage arrangements with MVPDs and virtual MVPDs, including Hulu with Live TV, DIRECTV NOW and YouTube TV.
CBS Films. During the fourth quarter of 2018, in connection with recent management changes, the Company implemented changes to its programming strategy, primarily at CBS Films, which will shift its focus from theatrical films to developing content for the Company’s direct-to-consumer digital streaming services. During 2019, CBS Films plans to complete production of its remaining theatrical films. CBS Films’ theatrical releases in 2018 were At Eternity’s Gate, Hell Fest and Winchester.
Television Network. The broadcast television environment is highly competitive. The principal methods of competition in broadcast television are the development and acquisition of popular programming and the development of audience interest through programming and promotion, in order to sell advertising at profitable rates. Broadcast networks like CBS compete for audience, advertising revenues and programming with other broadcast networks, such as ABC, FOX, NBC, The CW and MyNetworkTV, independent television stations, cable program services, as well as other media, including OTT services, such as Netflix and Hulu, DVDs and Blu-ray Discs, print and the internet. In addition, the CBS Television Network competes with the other broadcast networks to secure affiliations with independently owned television stations in markets across the country which are necessary to ensure the effective distribution of network programming to a nationwide audience.
Television Production and Syndication. As a producer and distributor of programming, the Company competes with studios, television production groups, and independent producers and syndicators, such as Disney, Fox, NBCUniversal, Sony and Warner Bros., as well as additional entrants with substantial resources, such as Amazon, Apple and Netflix, to produce and sell programming both domestically and internationally. The Company also competes to obtain creative talent and story properties which are essential to the success of all of the Company’s entertainment businesses. In addition, the consumer has many options for entertainment other than television
programming, including video games, sports, travel, outdoor recreation, the internet, and other cultural and computer-related activities.
CBS Interactive. CBS Interactive competes with a variety of online properties for users, advertisers, and partners, including the following: general purpose portals, such as AOL, MSN and Yahoo!; search engines such as Google, Yahoo! and Bing; online comparison shopping and retail properties, including Amazon.com; vertical content sites in the categories that CBS Interactive’s brands serve, such as technology, gaming, music, news, business, food, entertainment and lifestyle-focused digital properties; other content sites and apps, such as ESPN.com, HBO GO, Hulu and Netflix, as well as major television broadcast company digital properties, including digital streaming services and apps; and platforms such as blogs, podcasts and video properties. CBS Interactive also competes for users and advertisers with diversified media companies that provide both online and offline content, including magazines, cable television, network television, radio and newspapers.
CBS Sports Network. CBS Sports Network principally competes with cable programming services, including other sports-oriented cable programming services, for distribution and license fee revenue among MVPDs and virtual MVPDs, as well as for viewership and advertising revenue. The effects of consolidation among MVPDs and consumer pricing sensitivity have made it more difficult for niche channels to secure broad distribution in mainstream programming packages. In addition, the largest cable providers have created sports tiers for sports programming services which have not, in many cases, achieved significant subscriber penetration or acceptance. CBS Sports Network continues its repositioning to be included in programming packages with more subscribers. Re-alignment of college athletic conferences and their member institutions may adversely impact CBS Sports Network’s programming arrangements. CBS Sports Network also competes with cable programming services generally, including other sports programming services, such as ESPN, FOX Sports Networks and NBC Sports Network, in acquiring the television and multimedia rights to sporting events, resulting in increased rights fees and increased production expenses.
CBS Films. CBS Films competes for audience acceptance with programming produced and/or distributed by digital program services, including Amazon, Apple and Netflix, and numerous films produced and/or distributed by various studios and independent producers, including Paramount Pictures Corporation, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc., Lions Gate Entertainment, STX Entertainment, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. and Lakeshore Entertainment Group.
Cable Networks (15%, 17% and 15% of the Company’s consolidated revenues in 2018, 2017 and 2016, respectively, and 30%, 35% and 33% of the Company’s total segment operating income in 2018, 2017 and 2016, respectively)
The Cable Networks 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.
Showtime Networks. Showtime Networks owns and operates three commercial-free, premium subscription program services in the U.S.: Showtime, offering original series, recently released theatrical feature films, documentaries, boxing and other sports-related programming, and special events; The Movie Channel, offering recently released theatrical feature films and related programming; and Flix, offering theatrical feature films primarily from the last several decades; and a direct-to-consumer digital streaming subscription offering of the Showtime service. At December 31, 2018, subscriptions to Showtime (including its direct-to-consumer digital streaming subscription offering) totaled approximately 27 million in the U.S., certain U.S. territories and Bermuda.
The Showtime direct-to-consumer digital streaming subscription offering allows subscribers to view on-demand programming as well as the live telecast of the east and west coast feeds of Showtime, and is available for purchase (without an MVPD video subscription) at showtime.com™, through the Showtime app on multiple digital platforms, including Apple, Android and Roku devices, as part of a Spotify package available to college students, and as an add-on subscription to Amazon Prime, DIRECTV NOW, Hulu, Sling TV and YouTube TV. Showtime Networks also makes Showtime Anytime®, an authenticated version of Showtime, available at showtimeanytime.com™ and, via certain
internet-connected devices, through a Showtime Anytime app, free of charge to Showtime subscribers as part of their Showtime subscription through participating distributors. Showtime Anytime enables Showtime subscribers to view on-demand programming as well as the live telecast of the east and west coast feeds of Showtime. Versions of Showtime, The Movie Channel and Flix are also available on-demand, enabling traditional television subscribers to watch individual programs at their convenience. Showtime Networks additionally operates the Website SHO.com™, which promotes Showtime, The Movie Channel and Flix programming, and provides information and entertainment and other services.
Showtime Networks derives revenue principally from the license of its program services to numerous MVPDs, with a substantial portion of such revenue coming from three of the largest such distributors. The costs of acquiring exhibition rights to programming and producing original series are the principal expenses of Showtime Networks. Showtime Networks enters into commitments to acquire rights, with an emphasis on acquiring exclusive rights for Showtime and The Movie Channel, from motion picture studios and other distributors typically covering the U.S. and Bermuda for varying durations. Showtime Networks’ original series telecast in 2018 included Homeland, Ray Donovan, Billions, The Affair, The Chi, Kidding, Who is America?, Our Cartoon President and Shameless, among others. In 2018, Showtime Networks also telecast limited series Escape at Dannemora and Patrick Melrose, documentary series, including The Circus: Inside the Wildest Political Show on Earth, The Fourth Estate, The Trade and Enemies: The President, Justice & The FBI, and various sports-related programs and documentary series, including Inside the NFL and Shut Up and Dribble. Showtime Networks also produces and/or provides special events on a pay-per-view basis, including the Tyson Fury vs. Deontay Wilder pay-per-view boxing match in December 2018, which was available for purchase by both Showtime subscribers and non-subscribers through the Showtime app and third-party distributors.
Showtime Networks has entered into and may from time to time enter into co-financing, co-production and/or distribution arrangements with other parties to reduce the net cost to Showtime Networks for its original programming. In addition, Showtime Networks derives revenue by licensing rights it retains in certain of its original programming. The Company enters into licensing arrangements with television networks, digital platforms, including Amazon and Netflix, and/or other media companies for the exhibition of certain Showtime original programming domestically and in various international territories. For example, the Company has output agreements, including with Bell Media Inc. for Canada, with Sky-affiliated entities for Austria, Germany, Ireland, Italy and the U.K., with Moviestar + for Spain, with Canal + Group for France, with Fox Networks Group Asia for Southeast Asia, and with Hotstar’s streaming service for India.
Showtime Networks also owns a majority of and manages Smithsonian Networks, a venture with Smithsonian Institution, which operates Smithsonian Channel, a basic cable service in the U.S., featuring programs of a cultural, historical, scientific and educational nature. Smithsonian Networks makes Smithsonian Channel content available via MVPDs and virtual MVPDs in the U.S. and licenses Smithsonian Channel content outside of the U.S., including in connection with Smithsonian Channel in Canada, in which Smithsonian Networks owns a minority interest. Smithsonian Networks also operates the Website SmithsonianChannel.com™ and various apps, which promote Smithsonian Channel programming and provide information and entertainment services. Smithsonian Networks also operates Smithsonian Channel Plus, a direct-to-consumer digital streaming subscription service, which launched in December 2018, that allows subscribers to view on-demand programming, including 4K Ultra HD series and documentaries.
Cable Networks Competition.
Showtime Networks. Showtime Networks primarily competes with other providers of premium subscription program services in the U.S., including Home Box Office, Inc. and Starz, LLC. Competition among these premium subscription program services in the U.S. is dependent on: (i) the production, acquisition and packaging of original series and other original programming and the acquisition and packaging of an adequate number of recently released theatrical motion pictures; and (ii) the offering of prices, marketing and advertising support and other incentives to distributors for carriage so as to favorably position and package Showtime Networks’ premium subscription program services to subscribers. In addition, Showtime Networks competes with digital subscription programming services, such as Amazon, Hulu and Netflix, for original programming, theatrical motion pictures and viewership. Showtime
Networks also competes for programming, distribution and/or audiences with basic cable program services, broadcast television and other media, including video games and other internet apps.
Smithsonian Networks competes for programming, distribution and/or audiences with non‑fiction and other basic cable program services, including Discovery Channel, National Geographic Channel and History, as well as with broadcast television and other media.
The terms and favorable renewal of agreements with distributors for the distribution of the Company’s subscription program services are important to the Company. The effects of industry consolidation and other marketplace factors make it more difficult to reach and maintain favorable terms and positioning, which could increase costs and have an adverse effect on revenues.
Publishing (6% of the Company’s consolidated revenues in each of 2018, 2017 and 2016, and 5%, 5% and 4% of the Company’s total segment operating income in 2018, 2017 and 2016, respectively)
The Publishing segment consists of Simon & Schuster, which publishes and distributes consumer books in the U.S. and internationally.
Simon & Schuster publishes and distributes adult and children’s consumer books in printed, digital and audio formats in the U.S. and internationally. Its digital formats include electronic books and audio books. Simon & Schuster’s major adult imprints include Simon & Schuster, Pocket Books, Scribner, Atria Books, Gallery Books, and Adams Media®. Simon & Schuster’s major children’s imprints include Simon Pulse®, Aladdin®, Atheneum Books for Young Readers®, Margaret K. McElderry Books™, Saga Press™, Salaam Reads® and Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers™. Simon & Schuster also develops special imprints and publishes titles based on the products of certain CBS businesses as well as those of third parties and distributes products for other publishers. Simon & Schuster distributes its products directly and through third parties. Simon & Schuster also delivers content and promotes its products on its own Websites, social media, and general internet sites as well as those dedicated to individual titles. Its created assets include online videos showcasing Simon & Schuster authors and new releases on AOL, YouTube, Amazon, Bio.com, MSN.com, Google Newsstand, iTunes, SimonandSchuster.com and other sites. International publishing includes the international distribution of English-language titles through Simon & Schuster UK, Simon & Schuster Canada, Simon & Schuster Australia, Simon & Schuster India and other distributors, as well as the publication of locally originated titles by its international companies.
In 2018, Simon & Schuster had 206 New York Times bestsellers in hardcover, paperback, audio and electronic formats, collectively, including 28 New York Times #1 bestsellers. Best-selling titles in 2018 included Fear: Trump in the White House by Bob Woodward, The Outsider by Stephen King and Whiskey in a Teacup by Reese Witherspoon. Best-selling children’s titles include Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare, Dork Diaries #13 by Rachel Renée Russell and To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han. Simon & Schuster Digital™, through SimonandSchuster.com, publishes original content, builds reader communities and promotes and sells Simon & Schuster’s books over the internet.
The consumer publishing marketplace is subject to increased periods of demand in the summer months and during the end-of-year holiday season. Major new title releases represent a significant portion of Simon & Schuster’s sales throughout the year. Simon & Schuster’s top two accounts drive a significant portion of its annual revenue. Consumer print books are generally sold on a fully returnable basis, resulting in the return of unsold books. In the domestic and international markets, the Company is subject to global trends and local economic conditions. In 2018, the sale of digital content represented approximately 23% of Simon & Schuster’s revenues. The Company expects that digital content will continue to represent a significant portion of Simon & Schuster revenues in the coming years.
Publishing Competition. The consumer publishing business is highly competitive and has been affected over the years by consolidation trends and electronic distribution methods and models. Mass merchandisers and on‑line retailers are significant factors in the industry contributing to the general trend toward consolidation in the retail channel. The growth of the electronic book market has impacted print book retailers and wholesalers and could result
in a reduction of these channels for the sales and marketing of the Company’s books. In addition, unfavorable economic conditions and competition may adversely affect book retailers’ operations, including distribution of the Company’s books. The Company must compete with other larger publishers, such as Penguin Random House, Hachette and HarperCollins, for the rights to works by authors and sales to retailers and customers. Competition is particularly strong for well‑known authors and public personalities. In addition, technological changes have made it increasingly possible for authors to self‑publish and have led to the development of new digital distribution models in which the Company’s books must compete with the availability of both a larger volume of books as well as non-book content.
Local Media (13%, 12% and 14% of the Company’s consolidated revenues in 2018, 2017 and 2016, respectively, and 20%, 17% and 21% of the Company’s total segment operating income in 2018, 2017 and 2016, respectively)
The Local Media segment is composed of CBS Television Stations, the Company’s 29 owned broadcast television stations, all of which operate under licenses granted by the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) pursuant to the Communications Act of 1934, as amended (the “Communications Act”). 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 Company owns multiple television stations within the same designated market area (“DMA”) in 10 major markets. These multiple station markets are: New York (market #1), Los Angeles (market #2), Philadelphia (market #4), Dallas-Fort Worth (market #5), San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose (market #8), Boston (market #9), Detroit (market #14), Miami-Ft. Lauderdale (market #16), Sacramento-Stockton-Modesto (market #20), and Pittsburgh (market #24). This group of television stations enables the Company to reach a wide audience within and across geographically diverse 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.
The CBS Television Stations group principally derives its revenues from the sale of advertising time on its television stations. In addition, the CBS Television Stations group receives retransmission fees from MVPDs for authorizing the MVPDs’ carriage of the Company’s owned television stations. The Company also has agreements for the digital streaming of the Company’s owned television stations on virtual MVPDs, including DIRECTV NOW, Hulu with Live TV and YouTube TV. The Company’s direct-to-consumer digital streaming subscription service, CBS All Access, offers an extensive on-demand selection of both current programming and library, original series as well as the ability to stream linear programming from local CBS Television Stations and most CBS television station affiliates. CBS All Access is available at CBS.com and through the CBS app on multiple digital platforms. In December 2018, the Company launched CBSN New York, a direct-to-consumer digital streaming live, advertiser-supported local news network available 24 hours a day, seven days a week that complements CBSN and streams news events from the Company’s owned television stations in New York. The Company’s television stations also have a digital presence on CBS local Websites which are operated by CBS Local Digital Media. The local Websites and related apps promote the Company’s stations’ programming as well as provide live and on-demand news, traffic, weather, entertainment and sports information, among other services for their local communities. The local Websites principally derive revenues from the sale of advertising. The “Television Stations and CBS Local Websites” table below includes information with respect to these properties within U.S. television markets. CBS Television Stations and Weigel Broadcasting own and operate through an approximately 50/50 joint venture Start TV™, a national entertainment program service featuring classic television content, movies and original programming focused on female audiences for local television stations’ digital sub-channels, which utilize a local television station's available broadcast spectrum to provide a companion to that station's primary channel.
Local Media Competition. Television stations compete for programming, on‑air talent, audiences and advertising revenues with other stations and cable networks in their respective coverage areas and, in some cases, with respect to programming, with other station groups, and, in the case of advertising revenues, with other local and national media. The owned and operated television stations’ competitive position is largely influenced by the quality of the syndicated programs and local news programs in time periods not programmed by the network; the strength of the CBS Television Network programming and, in particular, the viewership of the CBS Television Network in the time period immediately prior to the late evening news; and in some cases, by the quality of the broadcast signal. The Company’s television stations face increasing competition from technologies such as digital audio and visual content, which create new ways for audiences to consume content of their choosing while avoiding traditional commercial
advertising. The Company’s television stations’ Websites face competition for advertisers and visitors from other digital sources of local content.
Television Stations and CBS Local Websites
The following table sets forth information regarding the Company’s owned television stations and related local Websites, as of February 13, 2019, within U.S. television markets:
Market and Market Rank(1)
CBS Local Websites(2)
New York, NY (#1)
Los Angeles, CA (#2)
Chicago, IL (#3)
Philadelphia, PA (#4)
Dallas‑Fort Worth, TX (#5)
San Francisco, CA (#8)
Boston, MA (#9)
Atlanta, GA (#10)
Tampa-St. Petersburg, FL (#11)
Seattle-Tacoma, WA (#13)
Detroit, MI (#14)
Minneapolis, MN (#15)
Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, FL (#16)
Denver, CO (#17)
Sacramento, CA (#20)
Pittsburgh, PA (#24)
Baltimore, MD (#26)
Indianapolis, IN (#28)
Television market (DMA) rankings based on Nielsen Media Research Local Market Universe Estimates, September 2018.
The Company’s television stations’ Websites, which are operated by the CBS Local Digital Media Group, promote the stations’ programming and provide news, traffic, weather, entertainment and sports information, among other services for their local communities.
KCCW-TV is operated as a satellite station of WCCO-TV.
WBXI-CA is a Class A low power television station. Class A low power television stations do not implicate the FCC’s ownership rules.
The Company’s businesses are subject to and/or affected by regulations of federal, state and local governmental authorities in the U.S. and of national, regional and local authorities in foreign countries. The rules, regulations, policies and procedures affecting these businesses are subject to change. The summaries below should be read in conjunction with the texts of the statutes, rules and regulations described herein. The descriptions do not describe all present and proposed statutes, rules and regulations affecting the Company’s businesses.
Intellectual Property and Privacy
Laws affecting intellectual property are of significant importance to the Company. (See “Intellectual Property” on page I-15 for more information on the Company’s brands).
Unauthorized Distribution of Copyrighted Content and Piracy. Unauthorized distribution, reproduction, exhibition or other exploitation of copyrighted material in television programming, motion pictures, video clips and books, such as through unauthorized stored copies and live streaming, internet downloads, file “sharing” and peer-to-peer services, is a threat to copyright owners’ ability to protect and exploit their property. The Company’s digital delivery services and commercial arrangements with digital content providers help reduce the risks associated with unauthorized access to its content. The Company is also engaged in enforcement and other activities to protect its intellectual property and participates in various litigation, public relations programs and legislative activity. These business strategies and enforcement efforts are dependent upon laws and practices that protect the rights of creators and authorized distributors of content.
Laws and Content. The Company derives revenues from the creation and exploitation of creative content, for which the copyright law, including in the U.S. and other laws in other jurisdictions, grants certain exclusive rights, including to reproduce, publicly perform and distribute such content. The scope and duration of the protection afforded to the Company’s intellectual property depends on the type of property and the laws and regulations of the relevant jurisdiction. Any changes to copyright laws or related regulations that enable the Company to control the distribution of its content, including through court decisions, which diminish the scope of a copyright owner’s exclusive rights could impact the Company. Proposed legal amendments, such as to the law governing territorial exclusivity of the distribution of content in Europe, could adversely impact the Company’s ability to control and distribute its content.
Privacy. The U.S. and international laws and regulations governing the collection, use and transfer of consumer information are complex and rapidly evolving, particularly as they relate to the Company’s interactive businesses. The Company monitors and considers these laws and regulations in the design and operation of its Websites, digital content services and legal and regulatory compliance programs. Many of these laws and regulations are subject to change and uncertain interpretation and could result in claims, changes to business practices, financial penalties for noncompliance, or otherwise harm the Company's business. For example, the European Union’s (“EU”) General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) went into effect in May 2018 and applies to activities conducted from the Company's establishments in the EU or related to products and services that the Company offers to EU users. The GDPR creates new data protection compliance obligations and significantly increases financial penalties for noncompliance. Compliance with evolving U.S. and international consumer privacy and data protection laws requires additional resources and efforts by the Company.
General. Television broadcasting is subject to the jurisdiction of the FCC pursuant to the Communications Act. The Communications Act empowers the FCC, among other actions, to issue, renew, revoke and modify broadcasting licenses; determine stations’ frequencies, locations and operating power; regulate some of the equipment used by stations; adopt other regulations to carry out the provisions of the Communications Act and other laws, including requirements affecting the content of broadcasts; and impose penalties for violation of its regulations, including monetary forfeitures, short-term renewal of licenses and, in egregious cases, license revocation or denial of license renewals.
Under the Communications Act, the FCC also regulates certain aspects of the operation of MVPDs and certain other electronic media that compete with broadcast stations.
Indecency and Profanity Regulation. The FCC’s rules prohibit the broadcast of obscene material at any time and indecent or profane material between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. Broadcasters risk violating the prohibition against broadcasting indecent or profane material because the vagueness of the FCC’s indecency/profanity definition makes it difficult to apply, particularly with respect to spontaneous, live programming. The FCC’s maximum forfeiture penalty per station for broadcasting indecent or profane programming is approximately $407,000 per indecent or profane utterance, with a maximum forfeiture exposure of approximately $3.76 million for any continuing violation arising from a single act or failure to act. The Company has been involved in litigation and, from time to time, has received and may receive in the future letters of inquiry from the FCC prompted by complaints alleging that certain programming on its broadcast stations included indecent or profane material.
License Renewals. Television broadcast licenses are typically granted for standard terms of eight years. The Communications Act requires the FCC to renew a broadcast license if the FCC finds that the station has served the public interest, convenience and necessity and, with respect to the station, there have been no serious violations by the licensee of either the Communications Act or the FCC’s rules and regulations and there have been no other violations by the licensee of the Communications Act or the FCC’s rules and regulations that, taken together, constitute a pattern of abuse. The Company has no pending renewal applications. A station remains authorized to operate while its license renewal application is pending.
License Assignments and Transfers of Licensee Control. The Communications Act requires prior FCC approval for the assignment of a license or transfer of control of an FCC licensee. Third parties may oppose the Company’s applications to assign, acquire, or transfer control of broadcast licenses.
Ownership Regulation. The Communications Act and FCC rules and regulations limit the ability of individuals and entities to have certain official positions or ownership interests, known as “attributable” interests, above specific levels in broadcast stations. In seeking FCC approval for the acquisition of a broadcast station license, the acquiring person or entity must demonstrate that the acquisition complies with the FCC’s ownership rules or that a waiver of the rules is in the public interest.
Below are descriptions of broadcast ownership rules that are subject to current FCC review. The FCC is reviewing its local television ownership and dual network rules through its most recent quadrennial review that commenced in November 2018 and is separately reviewing its television national audience reach rule.
Local Television Ownership. Under the FCC’s local television ownership rule, one party may own up to two television stations in the same DMA, so long as at least one of the two stations is not among the top-four ranked stations in the market based on audience share as of the date an application for approval of an acquisition is filed with the FCC. A party may also own two television stations in the same DMA if the broadcast service contours of the stations do not overlap. In addition, the FCC will consider whether to permit acquisitions of a second top-four ranked television station in the same market on a case-by-case basis if doing so would serve the public interest, convenience and necessity. “Satellite” television stations that simply rebroadcast the programming of a “parent” television station are exempt from the local television ownership rule if located in the same DMA as the “parent” station. Low power television stations, which are authorized by the FCC to operate at significantly lower power levels than full-service stations, are exempt from FCC ownership rules.
Dual Network Rule. The dual network rule prohibits any of the four major networks, ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC, from combining.
Television National Audience Reach Limitation. Under the national television ownership rule, one party may not own television stations that reach more than 39% of all U.S. television households. In April 2017, the FCC reinstated the UHF discount, which was subsequently upheld by a federal court of appeals, pursuant to which a UHF television station is attributed with reaching only 50% of the television households in its
market. In December 2017, the FCC issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking pursuant to which it will consider modifying, retaining or eliminating the 39% national television audience reach limitation and/or the UHF discount. The Company currently owns and operates television stations that reach approximately 38% of all U.S. television households not taking into account the UHF discount.
Attribution of Ownership. Under the FCC’s attribution rules, a direct or indirect purchaser of various types of securities of an entity which holds FCC licenses, such as the Company, could violate the foregoing FCC ownership regulations or policies if that purchaser owned or acquired an “attributable” interest in other media properties. Under the FCC’s rules, an “attributable” interest for purposes of the FCC’s broadcast ownership rules generally includes: equity and debt interests which combined exceed 33% of a licensee’s total assets, if the interest holder supplies more than 15% of the licensee’s total weekly programming, or has an attributable same-market media interest, whether television, radio, cable or newspaper; a 5% or greater direct or indirect voting stock interest, including certain interests held in trust, unless the holder is a qualified passive investor, in which case the threshold is a 20% or greater voting stock interest; any equity interest in a limited liability company or a partnership, including a limited partnership, unless the interest holder is properly “insulated” from management activities; and any position as an officer or director of a licensee or of its direct or indirect parent. The FCC is reviewing its single majority voting stockholder attribution exemption, which renders as non‑attributable voting interests up to 49% in a licensee controlled by a single majority voting stockholder. Because NAI holds an attributable interest in both the Company and Viacom Inc., the business of each company is attributable to the other for certain FCC purposes, which may have the effect of limiting and affecting the activities, strategic business alternatives and business terms available to the Company. (See Item 1A. “Risk Factors-The businesses of the Company and Viacom Inc. will be attributable to the other company for certain regulatory purposes, which may limit business opportunities”).
Alien Ownership. In general, the Communications Act prohibits foreign individuals or entities from owning more than 25% of the voting power or equity of the Company. FCC approval is required to exceed the 25% threshold. The FCC has recently approved foreign ownership levels of up to 100% in certain instances, subsequent to its review and approval of specific, named foreign individuals.
Cable and Satellite Carriage of Television Broadcast Stations. The 1992 Cable Act and implementing FCC regulations govern the retransmission of commercial television stations by cable television operators. Every three years, a television station must elect, with respect to cable systems within its DMA, either “must carry” status, pursuant to which the cable system’s carriage of the station is mandatory, or “retransmission consent,” pursuant to which the station gives up its right to mandatory carriage and secures instead the right to negotiate consideration in return for consenting to carriage. Since 2006, the Company has implemented a systematic process of seeking monetary consideration for its retransmission consent.
Similarly, federal legislation and FCC rules govern the retransmission of broadcast television stations by DBS operators. DBS operators are required to carry the signals of all local television broadcast stations requesting carriage in local markets in which the DBS operator carries at least one signal pursuant to the statutory local-to-local compulsory copyright license. Every three years, each television station in such markets must elect “must carry” or “retransmission consent” status, in a manner similar to that described above with respect to cable systems. The Company’s owned and operated television stations are being transmitted into their local markets by the two major DBS operators pursuant to retransmission consent agreements.
Children’s Television Programming. FCC rules require television stations to broadcast on their main program stream three hours per week of educational and informational programming (“E/I programming”) designed for children 16 years of age and younger. FCC rules also impose E/I programming requirements on each additional digital multicast program stream transmitted by television stations, with the requirement increasing in proportion to the additional hours of free programming offered on multicast channels. These rules also limit the display during children’s programming of internet addresses of Websites that contain or link to commercial material or that use program characters to sell products. Regulations also limit the amount and content of commercial matter that may be shown on television stations during programming designed for children 12 years of age and younger. The FCC is considering relaxing certain of the E/I programming rules.
Program Access. Under the Communications Act, vertically integrated cable programmers (more fully described below) are generally prohibited from offering different prices, terms or conditions for programming to competing MVPDs unless the differential is justified by certain permissible factors set forth in the FCC’s regulations. The FCC also assesses the competitive impact of exclusive distribution arrangements between vertically integrated cable programmers and cable operators on a complaint-based process, using a case-by-case review. A cable programmer is considered to be vertically integrated under the FCC’s program access attribution rules if it owns or is owned in whole or in part by either a cable operator or a telephone company that provides video programming directly to subscribers.
The Company’s wholly owned program services are not currently subject to the program access rules. The Company’s flexibility to negotiate the most favorable terms available for carriage of these services and its ability to offer cable operators exclusive programming could be adversely affected if it were to become subject to the program access rules. Because the Company and Viacom Inc. are under common control by NAI, Viacom Inc.’s businesses could be attributable to the Company for purposes of the FCC’s program access rules. (See Item 1A. “Risk Factors-The businesses of the Company and Viacom Inc. will be attributable to the other company for certain regulatory purposes, which may limit business opportunities”).
National Broadband Plan/Post-Auction Repack. In 2017, the FCC concluded a series of voluntary auctions to repurpose certain spectrum then utilized by broadcast television stations for use by wireless broadband services. The FCC has mandated that certain television stations that are continuing to operate subsequent to these auctions must change their channels as the FCC “repacks” the remaining spectrum dedicated to broadcast television use. Congress provided that the FCC will assist television stations in retaining their current coverage areas and established a fund to at least partially reimburse broadcasters for reasonable relocation expenses relating to the spectrum-repacking. Certain broadcast television stations, including some of those owned by the Company, are in the process of undertaking this repacking process and seeking reimbursement of associated costs.
Broadcast Transmission Standard. In November 2017, the FCC adopted rules to permit television broadcasters to voluntarily broadcast using the “Next Generation” broadcast television transmission standard developed by the Advanced Television Systems Committee, Inc., also called “ATSC 3.0.” Those full-service television stations using the new standard are subject to certain requirements, including the obligation to continue broadcasting a generally identical program stream in the current ATSC 1.0 broadcast standard. The ATSC 3.0 standard can be used to offer better picture quality and improved mobile broadcast viewing. A television station converting to ATSC 3.0 operation will incur significant costs in equipment purchases and upgrade. In addition, consumers may be required to obtain new television sets or other equipment that are capable of receiving ATSC 3.0 broadcasts. The Company is participating in various ATSC 3.0 testing with other broadcasters, but it is too early to predict any impact of this technical standard on the Company’s operations.
The Company creates, owns, distributes and exploits under licenses its intellectual property worldwide. It is the Company’s practice to protect its products, including its television and motion picture products, characters, publications and other original and acquired works and audiovisual works made for digital exploitation. The following logos, trade names, trademarks and related trademark families are among those strongly identified with the product lines they represent and are significant assets of the Company: CBS®, CBS Entertainment™, CBS News®, CBS Sports®, CBSSports.com®, CBS All Access®, CBSN®, CBSN Local™, CBS Sports HQ®, CNET®, Showtime®, Showtime Anytime®, The Movie Channel®, Flix®, CBS Films®, Network 10™, 10™, 10 Bold™, 10 Peach™, 10 Play™, 10 Daily™, 10 All Access™, CBS Audience Network™, TV.com™, Last.fm®, MetroLyrics®, CSI:®, NCIS®, Entertainment Tonight®, ET Live™, Star Trek®, Simon & Schuster®, CBS Sports Network®, CBS Interactive®, CBS Local Digital Media™ and all the call letters for the Company’s stations. As a result, domestic and foreign laws protecting intellectual property rights are important to the Company and the Company actively enforces its intellectual property rights against infringements.
At December 31, 2018, the Company employed approximately 12,770 full-time and part-time salaried employees and had approximately 3,960 additional project-based staff.
FINANCIAL INFORMATION ABOUT SEGMENTS AND FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC OPERATIONS
Financial and other information by segment and relating to foreign and domestic operations for each of the last three years ended December 31 is set forth in Note 15 to the Consolidated Financial Statements.
CBS Corp. makes available free of charge on its Website, www.cbscorporation.com (Investors section), its Annual Report on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K and any amendments to those reports filed or furnished pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Such material is made available through the Company’s Website as soon as reasonably practicable after such material is electronically filed with or furnished to the Securities and Exchange Commission. These documents are also available on the SEC’s Website at www.sec.gov.
Item 1A. Risk Factors.
CAUTIONARY STATEMENT CONCERNING FORWARD‑LOOKING STATEMENTS
This document, including “Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Results of Operations and Financial Condition,” and the documents incorporated by reference into this Annual Report on Form 10-K, contain both historical and forward-looking statements. All statements other than statements of historical fact are, or may be deemed to be, forward-looking statements within the meaning of section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. These forward-looking statements are not based on historical facts, but rather reflect the Company’s current expectations concerning future results and events. These forward-looking statements generally can be identified by the use of statements that include phrases such as “believe,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “intend,” “plan,” “foresee,” “likely,” “will,” “may,” “could,” “estimate” or other similar words or phrases. Similarly, statements that describe the Company’s objectives, plans or goals are or may be forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that are difficult to predict and which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of the Company to be different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by these statements. More information about these risks, uncertainties and other factors is set forth below. Additional risks, uncertainties and other factors may be described in the Company’s filings made under the securities laws. There may be additional risks, uncertainties and factors that the Company does not currently view as material or that are not necessarily known. The forward-looking statements included in this document are made only as of the date of this document and the Company does not undertake any obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statements to reflect subsequent events or circumstances.
For an enterprise as large and complex as the Company, a wide range of factors could affect its business and financial results. The factors described below are considered to be the most significant. There may be other currently unknown or unpredictable economic, business, competitive, technological, regulatory or other factors that could have material adverse effects on the Company’s future results. Past financial performance may not be a reliable indicator of future performance and historical trends should not be used to anticipate results or trends in future periods. The following discussion of risk factors should be read in conjunction with “Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Results of Operations and Financial Condition” and the consolidated financial statements and related notes in “Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data” of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
The Company’s success and profitability are dependent upon audience acceptance of its content, which is difficult to predict.
Television and other content production and distribution are inherently risky businesses because the revenues derived from the production and distribution of such content, and the licensing of rights to the associated intellectual property, depend primarily upon their acceptance by the public, which is difficult to predict. The commercial success of a program also depends upon the quality and acceptance of other competing programs released into the marketplace at or near the same time, the availability of alternative forms of entertainment and leisure time activities, general economic conditions and other tangible and intangible factors, all of which are difficult to predict. Rating points are also factors that are weighed when determining the advertising rates that the Company receives. The use of evolving ratings technologies and measurements, and viewership on platforms or devices, such as tablets, smart phones and other mobile devices, that is not being fully measured, could have an impact on the Company’s program ratings and advertising revenues. For example, while C-7, a current television industry sales metric, measures live, in-home, commercial viewing plus seven days of digital video recorder (“DVR”) and video-on-demand playback, the viewership occurring on subsequent days of DVR and video-on-demand playback, as well as out-of-home viewing and online and mobile viewership, are excluded from current audience viewership measures. Also, consumer viewership of OTT services continues to grow and is under measured. Low ratings can lead to lower pricing and advertising spending. For example, there can be no assurance that any replacement programming on the Company’s television stations will generate the same level of revenues or profitability as previous programming. In addition, the success of the Company’s cable networks and Simon & Schuster is similarly dependent on audience acceptance of its programming and publications, respectively. Low public acceptance of the Company’s content, including its programming and publications, will have an adverse effect on the Company’s results of operations. In addition, any decreased popularity of programming for which the Company has incurred significant commitments could have an adverse effect on its profitability. Programming and talent commitments of the Company, estimated to aggregate approximately $8.98 billion as of December 31, 2018, primarily included $6.62 billion for sports programming rights, $1.71 billion relating to the production and licensing of television and film programming, and $660 million for talent contracts, with $889 million of these amounts payable in and after 2024. A shortfall, now or in the future, in the expected popularity of the programming the Company expects to distribute or the sports events for which the Company has acquired rights, could lead to decreased profitability or losses for a significant period of time.
A decline in advertising expenditures could cause the Company’s revenues and operating results to decline significantly in any given period or in specific markets.
The Company derives substantial revenues from the sale of advertising on its broadcast and basic cable networks, television stations, syndicated programming, and digital properties. A decline in the economic prospects of advertisers, the economy in general or the economy of any individual geographic market, particularly a major market, such as Los Angeles, New York or Chicago, in which the Company owns and operates sizeable businesses, could alter current or prospective advertisers’ spending priorities. Natural and other disasters, acts of terrorism, political uncertainty or hostilities could lead to a reduction in advertising expenditures as a result of disrupted programming and services, uninterrupted news coverage and economic uncertainty. Advertising expenditures may also be affected by increasing competition for the leisure time of audiences. In addition, advertising expenditures by companies in certain sectors of the economy, including the automotive, financial and pharmaceutical segments, represent a significant portion of the Company’s advertising revenues. Any political, economic, social or technological change resulting in a reduction in these sectors’ advertising expenditures may adversely affect the Company’s revenue. Advertisers’ willingness to purchase advertising from the Company may also be affected by a decline in audience ratings for the Company’s programming, the inability of the Company to retain the rights to popular programming, increasing audience fragmentation caused by new program channels and the proliferation of media formats, including the internet and video-on-demand and the deployment of portable digital video devices and new technologies, which allow consumers to live stream and time shift programming, make and store digital copies and skip or fast-forward through advertisements. In addition, the pricing and volume of advertising may be affected by shifts in spending toward digital and mobile offerings, which can deliver targeted advertising promptly, from more traditional media, or toward newer ways of purchasing advertising, such as through automated purchasing, dynamic advertising insertion, third parties selling local advertising spots and advertising exchanges, some or all of which may not be as beneficial to the Company
as traditional advertising methods. Any reduction in advertising expenditures could have an adverse effect on the Company’s revenues and results of operations.
The Company must respond to rapid changes in technology, content creation, services, standards and changes in consumer behavior in order to remain competitive.
Video, telecommunications and data services technologies used in the entertainment industry are changing rapidly as are the digital publishing and distribution models for books. Advances in technologies or alternative methods of product delivery or storage could reduce subscription or advertiser-supported viewership of the Company’s programming and have a negative effect on the Company’s revenues and profitability. Examples of the foregoing include the convergence of television telecasts and digital delivery of programming to televisions and other devices, video-on-demand platforms, tablets, new video and electronic book formats, user-generated content sites, unauthorized digital distribution of video content including via streaming and downloading, simultaneous live streaming of telecast content which allows users to consume content on demand and in remote locations while avoiding traditional commercial advertisements or subscription payments and “cloud-based” DVR storage. Further, these and other technologies drive changes in consumer behavior that could affect the attractiveness of the Company’s offerings to advertisers and adversely affect its revenues, including devices that allow users to view television programs on a time-delayed basis and technologies, such as DVRs, that enable users to fast-forward or skip advertisements or increase the sharing of subscription content and reduce the demand for electronic sell-through, DVD and Blu-ray Disc products. The Company’s business also may be adversely affected by the use of antennas (and their integration with set-top boxes or other consumer devices) to access broadcast signals to avoid subscriptions and live and stored video streaming boxes and services, which deliver unauthorized copies of copyrighted content, including those emanating from other countries in various languages.
More television and video programming options, including via digital streaming services and platforms, increase competition for viewers. In addition, competitors targeting programming to narrowly defined audiences may gain an advantage over the Company for advertising and subscription revenues. Television manufacturers, cable providers and others are developing and offering technology to enable viewers to locate digital copies of programming from the internet to view on television monitors or other devices, which could diminish viewership of the Company’s programming. Also, the impact of technological changes on MVPDs may adversely affect the Company’s cable networks’ ability to grow revenue. In order to respond to these developments, the Company implements changes to its business models and strategies from time to time. There can be no assurance that the Company’s direct-to-consumer digital streaming business models will continue to successfully respond to changes in technologies and consumer preferences. Anticipating and timely adapting to changes in technology and content consumption and exploiting new sources of revenue from these changes could affect the Company’s ability to continue to increase its revenues.
Increased programming and content costs may adversely affect the Company’s profits.
The Company produces and acquires programming and other content and incurs costs with respect to its content, including for all types of creative talent, such as actors, authors, writers and producers, composers and publishers of music, as well as for marketing and distribution. The Company plans to increase its investment in content and related marketing and distribution, including for its direct-to-consumer digital streaming services. An increase in any of these costs and increased competition from large entertainment companies and additional entrants with substantial resources for the production, acquisition and distribution of new content, including Amazon, Apple, Hulu and Netflix, may lead to decreased profitability. As competition for popular content is intense, the Company may have to increase expenditures for talent and intellectual property rights. In addition, changes in content consumption as well as the increasing number of available digital and other program, entertainment and news services increase the risks associated with the success of all types of content. There can be no assurance that the Company will recoup its investments in programming and related costs. These factors could have an adverse effect on the Company’s business, financial condition or results of operations.
Piracy of the Company’s programming and other content, including digital piracy, may decrease revenue received from the exploitation of the Company’s programming and other content and adversely affect its businesses and profitability.
Piracy of programming, books and other copyrighted material is prevalent in many parts of the world and is made easier by the availability of digital copies of content, which facilitates the creation, transmission and sharing of high quality unauthorized copies of the Company’s content. Technological advances, which facilitate the streaming of programming via the internet to television screens and other devices, may increase piracy. The proliferation of unauthorized access to content, including through unauthorized live streaming, streaming boxes and apps programmed to seek pirated copies of content, the unauthorized premature release of content and unauthorized account sharing of subscription program services, has an adverse effect on the Company’s businesses and profitability because these unauthorized actions reduce the revenue that the Company potentially could receive from the legitimate sale and distribution of its products and services. Increases in piracy would have an adverse effect on the Company’s businesses and profitability. Also, while legal protections exist, piracy and technological tools with which to carry it out continue to escalate, evolve and present challenges for enforcement. The Company enforces its rights against entities that illegally secure and exhibit its content, including streaming the Company’s content without obtaining the consent of or paying compensation to the Company. Failure of legal and technological protections to evolve and enable enhanced enforcement efforts to combat piracy could make it more difficult for the Company to adequately protect its intellectual property, which could negatively impact its value and further increase the Company’s enforcement costs.
Failure by the Company to obtain, create and retain the rights related to popular programming could adversely affect the Company’s revenues.
The Company’s revenues from its television, cable networks and digital services businesses are partially dependent on the Company’s continued ability to anticipate and adapt to changes in consumer tastes and behavior on a timely basis. Moreover, the Company derives a portion of its revenues from the exploitation of its extensive library of television programming. Generally, a television series must have a network run of at least three or four years to be successfully sold in domestic syndication, however, increasingly, these time frames are being shortened. If the content of its television programming library ceases to be widely accepted by audiences or is not continuously replenished with popular content, the Company’s revenues could be adversely affected. The Company obtains a significant portion of its popular programming from third parties. For example, some of CBS Television Network’s most widely viewed broadcasts, including golf’s Masters Tournament, the PGA Championship, NFL games, NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament games and series such as Young Sheldon, are made available based upon programming rights of varying duration that the Company has negotiated with third parties. In addition, Showtime Networks enters into commitments and competes with other buyers to acquire rights to certain programming for Showtime, The Movie Channel and Flix from motion picture producers and other suppliers for varying durations. The Company competes for compelling source material for and the talent necessary to produce programming. In addition, competition for popular programming that is licensed from third parties is intense, and the Company may be outbid by its competitors for the rights to new, popular programming or in connection with the renewal of popular programming currently licensed by the Company. The Company’s failure to obtain or retain rights to popular content could adversely affect the Company’s revenues.
The Company’s businesses operate in highly competitive and consolidating industries.
The Company competes with other media companies for high quality content to achieve large audiences and to generate advertising and subscription revenue. The Company also competes for distribution on various MVPDs and third-party digital platforms. The Company’s ability to attract audiences and advertisers and obtain favorable distribution depends in part on its ability to provide popular programming and books and adapt to new technologies and distribution platforms. The consolidation of advertising agencies, distributors, content providers, printers and television service providers also has increased their negotiating leverage and intensified competition for audiences, advertising revenue, print production and distribution. In addition, consolidation among book retailers and the growth of online sales and electronic books sales have resulted in increased competition for limited physical shelf space for the Company’s publications and for the attention of consumers online. Competition for audiences and advertising
comes from: broadcast television stations and networks; cable television systems and networks; motion picture studios; the internet; non-traditional programming services, including increases in the number of direct-to-consumer services; technological innovations in content distribution; terrestrial and satellite radio and portable devices; local, regional and national newspapers; direct mail; and other communications and advertising media that operate in these markets. Other television stations or cable networks may change their formats or programming, a new station or new network may adopt a format to compete directly with the Company’s stations or networks, or stations or networks might engage in aggressive promotional campaigns. In book publishing, competition among electronic and print book retailers could decrease the prices for new releases and the outlets available for book sales. Moreover, the growing use of self-publishing technologies by authors increases competition and could result in decreased use of traditional publishing services. This competition could result in lower ratings and advertising and subscription and other revenues or increased content costs and promotional and other expenses and, consequently, lower the Company’s earnings and cash flow. The Company cannot be assured that it will be able to compete successfully in the future against existing, new or potential competitors, or that competition and consolidation in the marketplace will not have a material adverse effect on its business, financial condition or results of operations.
The loss of affiliation agreements or retransmission agreements or renewals on less favorable terms could materially adversely affect the Company’s results of operations.
The CBS Television Network provides its affiliates with up to approximately 98 hours of regularly scheduled programming per week. In return, the CBS Television Network’s affiliated stations broadcast network-inserted commercials during that programming and pay the Company station affiliation fees. Loss of station affiliation agreements of the CBS Television Network could adversely affect the Company’s results of operations by reducing the reach of the Company’s programming and therefore its attractiveness to advertisers, and renewal of these affiliation agreements on less favorable terms may also adversely affect the Company’s results of operations. Also, consolidation among television station group owners could increase their negotiating leverage. The non-renewal or termination of retransmission agreements with MVPDs and virtual MVPDs or continued distribution on less favorable terms could also adversely affect the Company’s revenues and its ability to distribute its network programming to a nationwide audience and affect the Company’s ability to sell advertising, which could have a material adverse effect on the Company’s results of operations. Showtime Networks, CBS Sports Network and Smithsonian Networks are also dependent upon the maintenance of distribution agreements with MVPDs and third-party digital platforms and there can be no assurance that these agreements will be renewed in the future on terms acceptable to such programmers. The loss of one or more of these arrangements could reduce the distribution of Showtime Networks’, CBS Sports Network’s and Smithsonian Networks’ program services and reduce revenues from subscriber fees and advertising, as applicable. Further, the loss of favorable packaging, positioning, pricing or other marketing opportunities with any distributor could reduce revenues from subscriber fees. Also, consolidation among MVPDs and increased vertical integration of such distributors into the cable or broadcast network business have provided more leverage to these distributors and could adversely affect the Company’s ability to maintain or obtain distribution for its network programming or distribution and/or marketing of its subscription program services on favorable or commercially reasonable terms, or at all. Moreover, competitive pressures faced by MVPDs, particularly in light of the lower retail prices of digital streaming services, could adversely affect the terms of the Company’s renewals with MVPDs. In addition, MVPDs and digital streaming services continue to develop alternative offerings for consumers, including “skinny bundles,” which are generally smaller than the traditional program package or may allow the consumer to customize its package of program services. To the extent these packages do not include the Company’s programming and become widely accepted in lieu of traditional program packages, the Company could experience a decline in affiliate and subscription revenues.
Cyber attacks or other events that adversely affect the Company’s information systems or result in the breach of proprietary or confidential information could disrupt the Company’s business, harm its reputation and expose the Company to regulatory enforcement and litigation.
Network and information systems and other technologies, including technology systems used in connection with the production and distribution of the Company’s content by the Company or third parties, are important to the Company’s business activities. Despite the Company’s security measures and disaster recovery planning, network
and information systems-related events, such as process breakdowns, employee or partner error, cyber attacks or other activities, and power outages, terrorism, natural or other disasters, could result in a disruption or degradation of the Company’s services and operations, damage to equipment and data, and dissatisfaction or loss of viewers, customers or advertisers. The Company manages, stores, and otherwise processes proprietary information and sensitive or confidential data relating to its operations. The Company may experience breaches or other compromise of the information technology systems it uses for these purposes, as criminal or other actors may be able to penetrate the Company’s network security and misappropriate or compromise the Company’s business information, including intellectual property, financial, personal or other confidential information, or that of third parties, create system disruptions or cause shutdowns. Further, hardware and operating system software and applications that the Company produces or procures from third parties may contain defects in design or manufacture, including “bugs” and other problems that could unexpectedly interfere with the operation of such systems. The costs to address the foregoing security problems and security vulnerabilities before or after a cyber incident could be significant. Remediation efforts may not be successful and could result in interruptions, delays, or cessation of service, and loss of existing or potential customers that may impede the Company’s operations. Breaches of the Company’s security measures and the unapproved dissemination of proprietary information or sensitive or confidential data about the Company or its customers or other third parties could expose such affected parties to a risk of loss or misuse of this information, result in regulatory enforcement, litigation and potential liability for the Company, damage the Company’s brands and reputation, or otherwise harm the Company’s business. Further, the Company relies in certain limited capacities on third-party data management providers and other vendors whose possible security problems and security vulnerabilities may have similar effects on the Company.
The Company is subject to laws, rules, and regulations in the U.S. and other countries relating to the collection, use, and security of user and other personal data. The Company’s ability to execute transactions and to possess and use personal information and data in conducting its business may require the Company to notify regulators and customers, employees, or other individuals of a data security breach, including in the EU under the GDPR, which took effect in May 2018. The Company will continue to incur expenses to comply with mandatory privacy and security standards and protocols imposed by law, regulation, industry standards or contractual obligations, but despite such efforts may face regulatory and other legal actions in the event of a data breach or perceived or actual non-compliance with such requirements.
The Company’s operating results are subject to seasonal variations and other factors.
The Company’s business has experienced and is expected to continue to experience seasonality due to, among other things, seasonal advertising patterns and seasonal influences, on people’s viewing, reading, attendance and listening habits. Typically, the Company’s revenue from advertising increases in the first and fourth quarters, Simon & Schuster generates an increased portion of its revenues in the second half of the year and license fees for television programming are dependent on the commencement of a license period, mix, number and availability of the Company’s television programming, which may cause operating results to increase or decrease during a period and create non-comparable results relative to the corresponding period in the prior year. In addition, the Company’s advertising revenues benefit when the Company broadcasts the Super Bowl and NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament National Semifinals and Championship and, in even-numbered years, benefit from advertising placed by candidates for political offices. The effects of such seasonality make it difficult to estimate future operating results based on the previous results of any specific quarter and may adversely affect the Company’s operating results.
Economic conditions may adversely affect the Company’s businesses and customers.
The U.S. and other countries where the Company operates experience slowdowns and volatilities in their economies from time to time. A downturn could lead to lower consumer and business spending for the Company’s products and services, particularly if customers, including advertisers, subscribers, licensees, retailers and other consumers of the Company’s content offerings and services, reduce demands for the Company’s products and services. In addition, in unfavorable economic environments, the Company’s customers may have difficulties obtaining capital at adequate or historical levels to finance their ongoing business and operations and may face insolvency, all of which could impair their ability to make timely payments and continue operations, including distribution of the Company’s
content. The Company is unable to predict the duration and severity of weakened economic conditions and such conditions and resultant effects could adversely impact the Company’s businesses, operating results, and financial condition.
Volatility and weakness in capital markets may adversely affect credit availability and related financing costs for the Company.
Bank and capital markets can experience periods of volatility and disruption. If the disruption in these markets is prolonged, the Company’s ability to refinance, and the related cost of refinancing, some or all of its debt could be adversely affected. Although the Company can currently access the bank and capital markets, there is no assurance that such markets will continue to be a reliable source of financing for the Company. In addition, the Company’s access to and cost of borrowing can be affected by the Company’s short- and long-term debt ratings assigned by credit ratings agencies. These factors, including the tightening of credit markets, or a decrease in the Company’s debt ratings, could adversely affect the Company’s ability to obtain cost-effective financing.
Changes in communications laws or other regulations may have an adverse effect on the Company’s business.
The television broadcasting and distribution industries in the U.S. are highly regulated by U.S. federal laws and regulations issued and administered by various federal agencies, including the FCC. The television broadcasting industry is subject to extensive regulation by the FCC under the Communications Act. For example, the Company is required to obtain licenses from the FCC to operate its television stations. The Company cannot be assured that the FCC will approve its future renewal applications or that the renewals will be for full terms or will not include conditions or qualifications. The non-renewal, or renewal with substantial conditions or modifications, of one or more of the Company’s licenses could have a material adverse effect on the Company’s revenues. The Company must also comply with extensive FCC regulations and policies in the ownership and operation of its television stations and its television networks. FCC regulations prohibit the common ownership of more than one of the top four networks, ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC, and limit the number of television stations that a licensee can own in a market and the number of television stations that can be owned nationwide, which could restrict the Company’s ability to consummate future transactions and in certain circumstances could require it to divest some television stations. The U.S. Congress and the FCC currently have under consideration, and may in the future adopt, new laws, regulations, and policies regarding a wide variety of matters that could, directly or indirectly, affect the operation and ownership of the Company’s television properties. For example, from time to time, proposals have been advanced in the U.S. Congress and at the FCC to require television stations to provide advertising time to political candidates for free or at a reduced charge. Any restrictions on political or other advertising may adversely affect the Company’s advertising revenues. Changes to the media ownership and other FCC rules may affect the competitive landscape in ways that could increase the competition faced by the Company. Proposals have also been advanced from time to time before the U.S. Congress and the FCC to extend the program access rules (currently applicable only to those cable program services which also own or are owned in whole or in part by cable distribution or telephone company systems) to all cable program services. The Company’s ability to obtain the most favorable terms available for its content could be adversely affected should such an extension be enacted into law. It is difficult to predict the outcome of the FCC’s actions or their effect, if any, on the Company’s broadcasting properties. In addition, changes in or new interpretations of international laws and regulations governing the broadcast and distribution of content, competition and the internet, including those affecting data privacy, as well as the new EU law requiring 30% local content on subscription video on demand services and proposed amendments to the law governing territorial exclusivity of the distribution of content in Europe, may have an adverse impact on the Company’s international businesses and internet properties. The Company is unable to predict the effect that any such laws, regulations or policies may have on its operations.
Vigorous enforcement or modification of FCC indecency and other program content rules against the broadcast and cable industries could have an adverse effect on the Company’s businesses and results of operations.
The FCC’s rules prohibit the broadcast of obscene material at any time and indecent or profane material on television stations between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. Broadcasters risk violating the prohibition against broadcasting indecent material because of the vagueness of the FCC’s indecency/profanity definition, coupled with
the spontaneity of live programming. The FCC enforces its indecency rules against the broadcasting industry. The FCC has found on a number of occasions that the content of television broadcasts has contained indecent material. In such instances, the FCC issued fines or advisory warnings to the offending licensees. Moreover, the FCC has in some instances imposed separate fines for each allegedly indecent “utterance,” in contrast with its previous policy, which generally considered all indecent words or phrases within a given program as constituting a single violation. Broadcasting indecent material could result in fines per station of a maximum of approximately $407,000 per utterance and/or the loss of a station’s FCC license. If the FCC denied a license renewal or revoked the license for one of the Company’s television stations, the Company would lose its authority to operate the station. The determination of whether content is indecent is inherently subjective and, as such, it can be difficult to predict whether particular content could violate indecency standards. The difficulty in predicting whether individual programs, words or phrases may violate the FCC’s indecency rules adds significant uncertainty to the Company’s ability to comply with the rules. Violation of indecency rules could lead to sanctions which may adversely affect the Company’s businesses and results of operations. Some policymakers support the extension of the indecency rules that are applicable to over-the-air broadcasters to cover cable and satellite programming and/or attempts to increase enforcement of or otherwise expand existing laws and rules. If such an extension, attempt to increase enforcement or other expansion took place and were found to be constitutional, some of the Company’s cable content could be subject to additional regulation and might not be able to attract the same subscription and viewership levels.
The failure or destruction of satellites and transmitter facilities on which the Company depends to distribute its programming could materially adversely affect the Company’s businesses and results of operations.
The Company uses satellite systems to transmit its broadcast and cable networks to affiliates. The distribution facilities include uplinks, communications satellites and downlinks. Transmissions may be disrupted as a result of local disasters including extreme weather that impair on-ground uplinks or downlinks, or as a result of an impairment of a satellite. Currently, there are a limited number of communications satellites available for the transmission of programming. If a disruption occurs, failure to secure alternate distribution facilities in a timely manner could have a material adverse effect on the Company’s businesses and results of operations. Each of the Company’s television stations and cable networks uses studio and transmitter facilities that are subject to damage or destruction. Failure to restore such facilities in a timely manner could have a material adverse effect on the Company’s businesses and results of operations.
The Company could suffer losses due to asset impairment charges for goodwill, intangible assets, FCC licenses and programming.
The Company tests goodwill and indefinite-lived intangible assets, including FCC licenses, for impairment during the fourth quarter of each year and between annual tests if events or circumstances require an interim impairment assessment. A downward revision in the estimated fair value of a reporting unit or intangible assets, including FCC licenses, could result in a non-cash impairment charge. Also, any significant shortfall, now or in the future, in the expected popularity of the Company’s programming could lead to a downward revision in the fair value of such assets. Any such impairment charge for goodwill, intangible assets and/or programming could have a material adverse effect on the Company’s reported net earnings.
Dividends and dividend rates cannot be guaranteed.
The Company’s Board of Directors assesses relevant factors when considering the declaration of a dividend on the Company’s common stock. The Company cannot guarantee that it will continue to declare dividends, including at the same or similar rates.
The loss of key personnel, including talent, could adversely affect the Company’s business and revenues.
The Company’s business depends upon the continued efforts, abilities and expertise of the Company’s corporate and divisional executive officers and various creative talent and entertainment personalities. The Company believes that the loss of its executive officers could have a material adverse effect on the Company, including the impairment of the Company’s ability to execute its business strategy. The Company employs or contracts with highly regarded
directors, actors, producers, authors and other talent who are important to attracting and retaining audiences and achieving the success of the Company’s programming, television stations, books and other content. There can be no assurance that these individuals will remain with or be drawn to the Company or will retain their current appeal. If the Company fails to retain or attract entertainment personalities, authors and talent or they lose their current appeal, the Company’s revenues could be adversely affected.
The Company’s liabilities related to discontinued operations and former businesses could adversely impact its financial condition.
The Company has both recognized and potential liabilities and costs related to discontinued operations and former businesses, certain of which are unrelated to the media business, including leases, guarantees, environmental liabilities, liabilities related to the pensions and medical expenses of retirees, asbestos liabilities, contractual disputes and other pending and threatened litigation. The Company cannot be assured that its reserves are sufficient to cover these liabilities in their entirety or any one of these liabilities when it becomes due or at what point any of these liabilities may come due. Therefore, there can be no assurances that these liabilities will not have a material adverse effect on the Company’s financial position, operating performance or cash flow.
The Company could be adversely affected by strikes and other union activity.
The Company, its suppliers and business partners engage the services of writers, directors, actors and other talent, trade employees, players in sports leagues and others who are subject to collective bargaining agreements. If the Company, its suppliers or business partners are unable to renew expiring collective bargaining agreements, it is possible that the affected unions or others could take action in the form of strikes or work stoppages. Such actions, higher costs in connection with these agreements or a significant labor dispute could adversely affect the Company’s television, cable networks and interactive businesses by disrupting the Company’s ability to provide scheduled services and programming or by causing delays in the production of the Company’s programming. Depending on its duration, any lockout, strike or work stoppage could have an adverse effect on the Company’s revenues, cash flows and/or operating income and/or their timing.
Fluctuations in foreign exchange rates and political and economic risks associated with the Company’s international businesses could harm the Company’s financial condition or results of operations.
The Company’s businesses operate and have customers worldwide. Certain of the Company’s revenues are earned and expenses are incurred in foreign currencies. The value of these currencies fluctuates relative to the U.S. dollar. As a result, the Company is exposed to exchange rate fluctuations, which could have an adverse effect on its results of operations. Other inherent risks of doing business in international markets include changes in the economic environment, potentially adverse tax developments, export restrictions, exchange controls, tariffs and other trade and sanctions barriers, longer payment cycles, and changes in privacy and data protection laws. The Company may incur substantial expense as a result of the imposition of new restrictions or changes in the existing economic environment in the regions where it does business. For example, the ongoing “Brexit” processes to withdraw the U.K. from the EU, which is expected to occur in 2019, may adversely affect economic and market conditions in the U.K. and other regions where the Company conducts business and could contribute to volatility in foreign exchange markets. In addition, acts of terrorism or other hostilities, or other future financial, political, economic or other uncertainties, could lead to a reduction in advertising expenditures, which could materially adversely affect the Company’s business, financial condition or results of operations.
Changes in tax laws, regulations and administrative practices, interpretations and policies may result in material tax liabilities.
The Company is subject to income taxes in both the U.S. and numerous foreign jurisdictions. Changes in tax laws, regulations and administrative practices, interpretations and policies in the territories where the Company’s businesses operate may result in material tax liabilities. The Company’s tax returns are routinely audited by tax authorities and tax-related litigation or settlements may occur resulting in the assessment of additional taxes. The enactment of the federal tax legislation in December 2017 (the “Tax Reform Act”) may expose the Company to tax
risks as a result of the ongoing issuance of interpretive guidance by the U.S. government as to how provisions of the Tax Reform Act are to be applied, which may differ from the Company’s current interpretations. The aforementioned risks may adversely affect the Company’s effective income tax rate or cash tax payments, which may adversely affect the Company’s business, financial condition or results of operations.
NAI, through its voting control of the Company, is in a position to control actions that require stockholder approval.
NAI, through its direct and indirect ownership of the Company’s voting Class A Common Stock, has voting control of the Company. At February 13, 2019, NAI directly or indirectly owned approximately 79.8% of the Company’s Class A Common Stock, and approximately 10.5% of the Company’s Class A Common Stock and non-voting Class B Common Stock on a combined basis. Mr. Sumner M. Redstone is the beneficial owner of the controlling interest in NAI and, accordingly, beneficially owns all such shares. Mr. Redstone, the controlling stockholder, chairman of the board of directors and chief executive officer of NAI, serves as Chairman Emeritus of the Company's Board of Directors, and Ms. Shari Redstone, the president and a director of NAI, serves as Vice Chair of the Company’s Board of Directors. NAI is controlled by Mr. Redstone through the Sumner M. Redstone National Amusements Trust (the “SMR Trust”), which owns 80% of the voting interest of NAI, and such voting interest of NAI held by the SMR Trust is voted solely by Mr. Redstone until his incapacity or death. The SMR Trust provides that in the event of Mr. Redstone’s death or incapacity, voting control of the NAI voting interest held by the SMR Trust will pass to seven trustees, who will include CBS Corporation director Ms. Shari Redstone. No member of the Company’s management is a trustee of the SMR Trust.
Subject to the terms of the settlement and release agreement entered into by the Company and NAI, among others, on September 9, 2018, NAI is in a position to control the outcome of corporate actions that require, or may be accomplished by, stockholder approval, including amending the Company’s bylaws, the election or removal of directors and transactions involving a change of control. For example, the Company’s Amended and Restated Bylaws provide that:
the affirmative vote of not less than a majority of the aggregate voting power of all outstanding shares of capital stock of the Company then entitled to vote generally in an election of directors, voting together as a single class, is required for the stockholders of the Company to amend, alter, change, repeal or adopt any bylaws of the Company;
any or all of the directors of the Company may be removed from office at any time prior to the expiration of the director’s term of office, with or without cause, only by the affirmative vote of the holders of record of outstanding shares representing at least a majority of all the aggregate voting power of outstanding shares of stock of the Company then entitled to vote generally in the election of directors, voting together as a single class at a special meeting of stockholders called expressly for that purpose; and
in accordance with the General Corporation Law of the State of Delaware, stockholders of the Company may act by written consent without a meeting if such stockholders hold the number of shares representing not less than the minimum number of votes that would be necessary to authorize or take such actions at a meeting at which all shares entitled to vote thereon were present and voted.
Accordingly, other stockholders who may have different interests are unable to affect the outcome of any such corporate actions for so long as NAI retains voting control.
Sales of NAI’s shares of the Company’s common stock could adversely affect the stock price.
At February 13, 2019, NAI directly or indirectly owned approximately 79.8% of the Company’s voting Class A Common Stock, and approximately 10.5% of the Company’s Class A Common Stock and non-voting Class B Common Stock on a combined basis. Based on information received from NAI, NAI has pledged to its lenders shares of the Company’s non-voting Class B Common Stock owned directly or indirectly by NAI. The aggregate number of shares
of non-voting Class B Common Stock pledged by NAI to its lenders represents approximately 4.8% of the Company’s total Class B Common Stock outstanding. If there is a default on NAI’s debt obligations and the lenders foreclose on the collateral, such Class B Common Stock could be sold, which sale could adversely affect the Company’s share price. There can be no assurance that NAI or its subsidiaries at some future time will not sell or pledge additional shares of the Company’s stock, which could adversely affect the Company’s share price.
Many factors may cause the stock price of the Company’s Class A Common Stock and Class B Common Stock to fluctuate.
The stock price of Class A Common Stock and Class B Common Stock may fluctuate significantly as a result of many factors. These factors, some or all of which are beyond the Company’s control, include: actual or anticipated fluctuations in the Company’s operating results; changes in expectations as to the Company’s future financial performance or changes in financial estimates of securities analysts; success of the Company’s operating and growth strategies; investor anticipation of strategic, technological or regulatory threats, whether or not warranted by actual events; operating and stock price performance of other comparable companies; and realization of any of the risks described in these risk factors. In addition, the stock market has experienced volatility that often has been unrelated or disproportionate to the operating performance of particular companies. These broad market and industry fluctuations may adversely affect the trading prices of the Company’s common stock, regardless of the Company’s actual operating performance.
The businesses of the Company and Viacom Inc. will be attributable to the other company for certain regulatory purposes, which may limit business opportunities.
So long as the Company and Viacom Inc. are under common control, each company’s businesses, as well as the businesses of any other commonly controlled company, will be attributable to the other company for purposes of certain rules and regulations of the FCC, U.S. and non-U.S. antitrust rules and regulations and certain rules regarding political campaign contributions in the U.S., among others potentially. The businesses of one company will continue to be attributable to the other company for certain FCC and other purposes even after the two companies cease to be commonly controlled, if the two companies share common officers, directors, or attributable stockholders. As a result, the businesses and conduct of Viacom Inc. may have the effect of limiting and affecting the activities, strategic business alternatives and business terms available to the Company, including limitations to which the Company contractually agreed in connection with the Company’s separation of former Viacom Inc. (“Former Viacom”) into two publicly traded entities, CBS Corporation and new Viacom Inc., which was completed on December 31, 2005 (the “Separation”).
In connection with the Separation, each company will rely on the other company’s performance under various agreements between the companies.
In connection with the Separation, the Company and Viacom Inc. entered into various agreements, including a Separation Agreement dated December 19, 2005, a Tax Matters Agreement dated December 30, 2005, which are filed as exhibits to this report, and certain related party arrangements pursuant to which the Company and Viacom Inc. will provide services and products to each other from and after the Separation. The Separation Agreement sets forth the allocation of assets, liabilities, rights and obligations of the Company and Viacom Inc. following the Separation, and includes indemnification obligations for such liabilities and obligations. In addition, pursuant to the Tax Matters Agreement, certain income tax liabilities and related responsibilities are allocated between, and indemnification obligations are assumed by, each of the Company and Viacom Inc. Each company will rely on the other to satisfy its performance and payment obligations under these agreements. Certain of the liabilities to be assumed or indemnified by the Company or Viacom Inc. under these agreements are legal or contractual liabilities of the other company. If Viacom Inc. were to breach or be unable to satisfy its material obligations under these agreements, including a failure to satisfy its indemnification obligations, the Company could suffer operational difficulties or significant losses.
NAI and any common director may face actual or potential conflicts of interest.
NAI has voting control of each of the Company and Viacom Inc. Mr. Sumner M. Redstone, the controlling stockholder through the SMR Trust, chairman of the board of directors and chief executive officer of NAI, serves as Chairman Emeritus of the Company and Chairman Emeritus of Viacom Inc. Ms. Shari Redstone, the president and a director of NAI, serves as Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of each of the Company and Viacom Inc. This ownership overlap and this common director could create, or appear to create, potential conflicts of interest when the Company’s and Viacom Inc.’s directors and controlling stockholder face decisions that could have different implications for the Company and Viacom Inc. For example, potential conflicts of interest could arise in connection with the resolution of any dispute between the Company and Viacom Inc. regarding the terms of the agreements governing the Separation and the relationship between the Company and Viacom Inc. thereafter. These agreements include the Separation Agreement, the Tax Matters Agreement and any commercial agreements between the parties or their affiliates. On occasion, the Company and Viacom Inc. may compete with each other in various commercial enterprises. Potential conflicts of interest could also arise if the Company and Viacom Inc. enter into any commercial arrangements with each other in the future. CBS Corp.’s certificate of incorporation contains provisions related to corporate opportunities that may be of interest to both the Company and Viacom Inc. CBS Corp.’s certificate of incorporation provides that in the event that a director, officer or controlling stockholder of the Company who is also a director, officer or controlling stockholder of Viacom Inc. acquires knowledge of a potential corporate opportunity for both the Company and Viacom Inc., such director, officer or controlling stockholder may present such opportunity to the Company or Viacom Inc. or both, as such director, officer or controlling stockholder deems appropriate in his or her sole discretion, and that by doing so such person will have satisfied his or her fiduciary duties to the Company and its stockholders. In addition, CBS Corp.’s certificate of incorporation provides that the Company renounces any interest in any such opportunity presented to Viacom Inc. Furthermore, CBS Corp.’s certificate of incorporation provides that neither the Company nor Viacom Inc. has any duty to refrain from engaging in the same or similar activities or lines of business as the other corporation, doing business with any potential or actual customer or supplier of the other corporation, or employing or soliciting for employment any officer or employee of the other corporation, and that no officer or director of either corporation shall be liable to the other corporation or the other corporation’s stockholders for breach of any fiduciary duty by reason of any such activities of the Company or Viacom Inc., as the case may be. These provisions create the possibility that a corporate opportunity of one of such companies may be used for the benefit of the other company. If any such opportunity is directed to Viacom Inc., rather than the Company, the Company may be materially adversely affected.
Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments.
Item 2. Properties.
The Company maintains its world headquarters at 51 West 52nd Street, New York, New York, where it owns a building containing approximately 900,000 square feet of space, 831,000 square feet of which is office space. The Company occupies approximately 275,000 square feet of the office space and leases the balance to third parties. The Company owns the CBS Broadcast Center complex located on approximately 3.7 acres at 524 West 57th Street, New York, New York, which consists of approximately 860,000 square feet of office and studio space. The Company also owns studio facilities at the CBS Studio Center at 4024 Radford Avenue, Studio City, California, located on approximately 40 acres. On January 31, 2019, the Company sold the studio facilities known as CBS Television City, located at 7800 Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles, California, on approximately 25 acres. Showtime Networks leases approximately 230,000 square feet at 1633 Broadway, New York, New York, under a lease which expires in 2026. Simon & Schuster leases approximately 300,000 square feet of office space at 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, New York, which lease runs to 2034. CBS Interactive leases approximately 283,000 square feet of space at 235 Second Street, San Francisco, California, under a lease which expires in 2022. CBS Interactive subleases approximately 90,000 square feet of this space to third parties. Network 10 leases approximately 100,000 square feet of space in the suburbs of Sydney, Australia at 1 Saunders Street, Pyrmont, New South Wales, Australia, under a lease which expires in December 2023. The Company and its subsidiaries also own and lease office, studio and warehouse space and
broadcast, antenna and satellite transmission facilities throughout the U.S., Canada and several other foreign countries for its businesses. The Company considers its properties adequate for its present needs.
Item 3. Legal Proceedings.
General. On an ongoing basis, the Company vigorously defends itself in numerous lawsuits and proceedings and responds to various investigations and inquiries from federal, state, local and international authorities (collectively, “litigation’’). Litigation may be brought against the Company without merit, is inherently uncertain and always difficult to predict. However, based on its understanding and evaluation of the relevant facts and circumstances, the Company believes that the below-described legal matters and other litigation to which it is a party are not likely, in the aggregate, to have a material adverse effect on its results of operations, financial position or cash flows. Under the separation agreement between the Company and Viacom Inc., the Company and Viacom Inc. have agreed to defend and indemnify the other in certain litigation in which the Company and/or Viacom Inc. is named.
Investigation-Related Matters. As announced on August 1, 2018, the Company’s Board of Directors (“Board”) retained two law firms to conduct a full investigation of the allegations in recent press reports about the Company’s former Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Leslie Moonves, CBS News and cultural issues at all levels of the Company. On December 17, 2018, the Board announced the completion of the investigation, certain findings of the investigation and the Board’s determination, discussed below, with respect to the termination of Mr. Moonves’s employment. The Company has received subpoenas from the New York County District Attorney’s Office and the New York City Commission on Human Rights regarding the subject matter of this investigation and related matters. The New York State Attorney General’s Office has also requested information about these matters. The Company may receive additional related regulatory and investigative inquiries from these and other entities in the future. The Company is cooperating with these inquiries.
On August 27, 2018 and on October 1, 2018, each of Gene Samit and John Lantz, respectively, filed putative class action suits in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, individually and on behalf of others similarly situated, for claims that are similar to those alleged in the amended complaint described below. On November 6, 2018, the Court entered an order consolidating the two actions. On November 30, 2018, the Court appointed Construction Laborers Pension Trust for Southern California as the lead plaintiff of the consolidated action. On February 11, 2019, the lead plaintiff filed a consolidated amended putative class action complaint against the Company, certain current and former senior executives and members of the Board. The consolidated action is stated to be on behalf of purchasers of the Company’s Class A Common Stock and Class B Common Stock between September 26, 2016 and December 4, 2018. This action seeks to recover damages arising during this time period allegedly caused by the defendants’ purported violations of the federal securities laws, including by allegedly making materially false and misleading statements or failing to disclose material information, and seeks costs and expenses as well as remedies under Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder.
Separation Agreement. On September 9, 2018, the Company entered into a separation and settlement agreement and releases (the “Separation Agreement”) with Mr. Leslie Moonves, pursuant to which Mr. Moonves resigned as a director and as Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Company. Pursuant to the Separation Agreement, the Company is contributing the aggregate amount of $20 million toward various charitable organizations that support the #MeToo movement and equality for women in the workplace, which organizations were mutually agreed by the Company and Mr. Moonves. The Company has recorded the contribution of $20 million in “Restructuring and other corporate matters” on the Consolidated Statements of Operations for the year ended December 31, 2018. In October 2018, the Company contributed $120 million to a grantor trust. On December 17, 2018, the Board announced that, following its consideration of the findings of the investigation referred to above, it had determined that there were grounds to terminate Mr. Moonves’s employment for cause under his employment agreement with the Company. Any dispute related to the Board’s determination is subject to binding arbitration as set forth in the Separation Agreement. On January 16, 2019, Mr. Moonves notified the Company of his election to demand binding arbitration with respect to this matter and the related Board investigation. The assets of the grantor trust will remain in the trust until a final determination in the arbitration. The Company is currently unable to determine the
outcome of the arbitration and the amount, if any, that may be awarded thereunder and, accordingly, no accrual for this matter has been made in the Company’s consolidated financial statements.
Claims Related to Former Businesses: Asbestos. The Company is a defendant in lawsuits claiming various personal injuries related to asbestos and other materials, which allegedly occurred as a result of exposure caused by various products manufactured by Westinghouse, a predecessor, generally prior to the early 1970s. Westinghouse was neither a producer nor a manufacturer of asbestos. The Company is typically named as one of a large number of defendants in both state and federal cases. In the majority of asbestos lawsuits, the plaintiffs have not identified which of the Company’s products is the basis of a claim. Claims against the Company in which a product has been identified most commonly relate to allegations of exposure to asbestos-containing insulating material used in conjunction with turbines.
Claims are frequently filed and/or settled in groups, which may make the amount and timing of settlements, and the number of pending claims, subject to significant fluctuation from period to period. The Company does not report as pending those claims on inactive, stayed, deferred or similar dockets that some jurisdictions have established for claimants who allege minimal or no impairment. As of December 31, 2018, the Company had pending approximately 31,570 asbestos claims, as compared with approximately 31,660 as of December 31, 2017 and 33,610 as of December 31, 2016. During 2018, the Company received approximately 3,290 new claims and closed or moved to an inactive docket approximately 3,380 claims. The Company reports claims as closed when it becomes aware that a dismissal order has been entered by a court or when the Company has reached agreement with the claimants on the material terms of a settlement. Settlement costs depend on the seriousness of the injuries that form the basis of the claims, the quality of evidence supporting the claims and other factors. The Company’s total costs for the years 2018 and 2017 for settlement and defense of asbestos claims after insurance recoveries and net of tax were approximately $45 million and $57 million, respectively. The Company’s costs for settlement and defense of asbestos claims may vary year to year and insurance proceeds are not always recovered in the same period as the insured portion of the expenses.
Filings include claims for individuals suffering from mesothelioma, a rare cancer, the risk of which is allegedly increased by exposure to asbestos; lung cancer, a cancer which may be caused by various factors, one of which is alleged to be asbestos exposure; other cancers, and conditions that are substantially less serious, including claims brought on behalf of individuals who are asymptomatic as to an allegedly asbestos-related disease. The predominant number of pending claims against the Company are non-cancer claims. The Company believes that its reserves and insurance are adequate to cover its asbestos liabilities. This belief is based upon many factors and assumptions, including the number of outstanding claims, estimated average cost per claim, the breakdown of claims by disease type, historic claim filings, costs per claim of resolution and the filing of new claims. While the number of asbestos claims filed against the Company has remained generally flat in recent years, it is difficult to predict future asbestos liabilities, as events and circumstances may occur, including, among others, the number and types of claims and average cost to resolve such claims, which could affect the Company’s estimate of its asbestos liabilities.
Other. The Company from time to time receives claims from federal and state environmental regulatory agencies and other entities asserting that it is or may be liable for environmental cleanup costs and related damages principally relating to historical and predecessor operations of the Company. In addition, the Company from time to time receives personal injury claims including toxic tort and product liability claims (other than asbestos) arising from historical operations of the Company and its predecessors.
Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures.
EXECUTIVE OFFICERS OF THE COMPANY
Set forth below is certain information concerning the executive officers of the Company as of February 13, 2019.
Joseph R. Ianniello
President and Acting Chief Executive Officer
Jonathan H. Anschell
Executive Vice President, Deputy General Counsel and Secretary
Richard M. Jones
Executive Vice President and General Tax Counsel
Executive Vice President, Controller and Chief Accounting Officer
Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer
Lawrence P. Tu
Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer
None of the executive officers of the Company is related to any other executive officer or director by blood, marriage or adoption.
Mr. Ianniello has been President and Acting Chief Executive Officer of the Company since September 2018. Prior to that, Mr. Ianniello served as Chief Operating Officer of the Company since June 2013 and as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of the Company since August 2009. Previously, he served as Deputy Chief Financial Officer of the Company since November 2008, as Senior Vice President, Chief Development Officer and Treasurer of the Company since September 2007, as Senior Vice President, Finance and Treasurer of the Company since January 1, 2006, as Senior Vice President and Treasurer of Former Viacom since July 2005 and as Vice President, Corporate Development of Former Viacom from 2000 to 2005.
Mr. Anschell has been Executive Vice President, Deputy General Counsel and Secretary of the Company since January 1, 2016. Mr. Anschell also serves as Executive Vice President and General Counsel of CBS Broadcasting Inc., a position he has held since joining the Company in 2004. Mr. Anschell previously was a partner with the law firm, White O’Connor Curry in Los Angeles, California.
Mr. Jones has been Executive Vice President and General Tax Counsel since August 2014. Previously, he served as Senior Vice President and General Tax Counsel of the Company since January 1, 2006 and for Former Viacom since December 2005. Prior to that, he served as Vice President of Tax, Assistant Treasurer and Tax Counsel for NBC Universal, Inc. since 2003 and he served 13 years with Ernst & Young in its media & entertainment and transaction advisory services practices. Mr. Jones also serves as the Company’s Chief Veteran Officer and served honorably as a non-commissioned officer in the U.S. Army’s 75th Ranger Regiment and 10th Mountain Division.
Mr. Liding has been Executive Vice President, Controller and Chief Accounting Officer of the Company since August 2014. Previously, he served as Senior Vice President, Controller and Chief Accounting Officer of the Company since October 2011, as Vice President, Deputy Controller of the Company since March 2010 and as Vice President, Assistant Controller since January 1, 2006. Prior to that, Mr. Liding joined Former Viacom in 1995 and served as Vice President of Financial Reporting from 2002 through 2005. Effective February 20, 2019, Mr. Liding has been appointed to a newly created role as head of the Company’s operations in China.
Effective February 20, 2019, Mr. David Byrnes has been appointed to succeed Mr. Liding to serve as the Company’s Senior Vice President, Controller and Chief Accounting Officer. Prior to such appointment, Mr. Byrnes, age 48, served as the Company’s Senior Vice President, Internal Audit since 2015 and as Senior Vice President, Finance, CBS Information Solutions & Technology since 2014. Previously, Mr. Byrnes served as Vice President, Finance at Simon & Schuster since 2009 and as Vice President, Corporate Development of the Company since 2008. Prior to that, Mr. Byrnes served five years at Automatic Data Processing, Inc. in various financial positions, including divisional Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of Financial Reporting and Policy, and served 11 years with KPMG LLP in its audit practice.
Ms. Spade has been Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer of the Company since October 2018. Previously, she served as Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Strategy for Showtime Networks Inc. (“Showtime”) since 2013. Prior to that, Ms. Spade served as Senior Vice President, Affiliate Finance and Business Operations for Showtime since 2003. Prior to joining Showtime in 1997, Ms. Spade was an Audit Manager with PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP in its Entertainment, Media and Communications practice.
Mr. Tu has been Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer of the Company since January 1, 2014. Previously, Mr. Tu served as Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of Dell Inc. since July 2004. Prior to that, Mr. Tu served as Executive Vice President and General Counsel of NBC Universal since 2001. He previously was a partner with the law firm, O’Melveny & Myers LLP, and also served five years as managing partner of the firm’s Hong Kong office. Mr. Tu’s prior experience also includes serving as General Counsel Asia-Pacific for Goldman Sachs, attorney for the U.S. State Department, and law clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.
Market for CBS Corporation’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Purchases of Equity Securities.
CBS Corporation (the “Company” or “CBS Corp.”) voting Class A Common Stock and CBS Corporation non-voting Class B Common Stock are listed and traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbols “CBS.A” and “CBS”, respectively.
On January 31, 2019, the Company announced a quarterly cash dividend of $.18 per share on its Class A and Class B Common Stock, payable on April 1, 2019. The Company declared a quarterly cash dividend on its Class A and Class B Common Stock during each of the four quarters of 2018 and 2017, resulting in total annual dividends of $274 million, or $.72 per share, for 2018 and $289 million, or $.72 per share, for 2017. CBS Corp. currently expects to continue to pay a regular cash dividend to its stockholders.
In November 2010, the Company announced that its Board of Directors approved a program to repurchase $1.5 billion of the Company’s common stock in open market purchases or other types of transactions (including accelerated stock repurchases or privately negotiated transactions). Since then, various increases totaling $16.4 billion have been approved and announced, including most recently, an increase to the share repurchase program to a total availability of $6.0 billion on July 28, 2016. Below is a summary of CBS Corp.’s purchases of its Class B Common Stock during the three months ended December 31, 2018.
(in millions, except per share amounts)
Total Number of
as Part of Publicly
October 1, 2018 - October 31, 2018
November 1, 2018 - November 30, 2018
December 1, 2018 - December 31, 2018
As of February 13, 2019, there were approximately 1,368 record holders of CBS Corp. Class A Common Stock and approximately 18,516 record holders of CBS Corp. Class B Common Stock.
The following graph compares the cumulative total stockholder return on CBS Corp. Class A and Class B Common Stock with the cumulative total return on the companies listed in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Stock Index (“S&P 500”) and a Peer Group of companies identified below.
The performance graph assumes $100 invested on December 31, 2013 in each of the Class A and Class B Common Stock of CBS Corp., the S&P 500 and the Peer Group identified below including reinvestment of dividends, through the calendar year ended December 31, 2018.
Total Cumulative Stockholder Return
For Five-Year Period Ended December 31, 2018
CBS Corp. Class A Common Stock
CBS Corp. Class B Common Stock
Peer Group (a)
(a) The Peer Group consists of the following companies: The Walt Disney Company, Twenty-First Century Fox, Inc. and Time Warner Inc. (“Time Warner”). In June 2018, Time Warner was acquired by AT&T Inc. and as a result, the peer group performance reflects the conversion of Time Warner common stock to AT&T Inc. common stock as of the date of the merger.
Selected Financial Data.
CBS CORPORATION AND SUBSIDIARIES
(In millions, except per share amounts)
Year Ended December 31, (a) (b)
2018 (c) (d)
2017 (e) (f) (g)
2016 (e) (f)
2015 (e) (h)
2014 (e) (i)
Net earnings from continuing operations
Net earnings (loss) from discontinued operations,
net of tax
Basic net earnings (loss) per common share:
Net earnings from continuing operations
Net earnings (loss) from discontinued
Diluted net earnings (loss) per common share:
Net earnings from continuing operations
Net earnings (loss) from discontinued
Dividends per common share