CBS

(CBS) - Get Report

swung to a loss in the first quarter as the collapse of traditional media advertising took its toll on another media conglomerate.

CBS said it lost $55.3 million, or 8 cents a share, in the just-ended quarter, fueled by higher depreciation expense during the quarter. Analysts were expecting a profit of 7 cents a share. A year ago, the company was in the black, posting earnings of $244.3 million, or 36 cents a share, results that benefited from the international distribution of the company's "CSI" franchise.

Revenue slipped to $3.16 billion from $3.65 billion a year earlier, which CBS blamed on the slumping advertising market combined with recessionary woes.

At the company's television segment, its biggest, ad revenue fell 15% in the quarter.

Executives tried to put on a brave face. "I have no doubt that the actions we are taking today, together with the strength of our industry-leading content, will translate to significantly better results once the economy improves," Sumner Redstone, the company's executive chairman, said in a statement.

Leslie Moonves, CBS's president and CEO, said in the news release that each of the company's business segments turned in a profit before depreciation and amortization during the quarter. "Meanwhile, we remain focused on reducing our cost structure, significantly lowering capital expenditures and conserving cash in order to meet our debt obligations going forward," he said.

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