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CBS (CBS) - Get CBS Corporation Class B Report , the nation's largest broadcast network measured by viewers, rode its coverage of the Feb. 7 Super Bowl and an industrywide increase in advertising sales to a 31% boost in earnings in the first quarter to $1.02 a share that blew past analysts' expectations. The company also beat the consensus with a 10% hike in revenue to $3.85 billion.

Analysts expected CBS, parent company of the CBS network and the Showtime cable channel, to earn 94 cents a share and to generate revenue of $3.83 billion, according to ThomsonReuters (TRI) - Get Thomson Reuters Corporation Report .

The company's stock, which has gained nearly 18% this year to lead major media companies, closed at $55.57 on Tuesday, down 1.6%. Shares, however, were up $1.04, or 1.9%, in after-hours trading following release of the first-quarter earnings.

"CBS delivered a spectacular quarter as we continue to execute on our strategy of creating and distributing the content that audiences have to have," CBS chairman and CEO Leslie Moonves said in a statement. "We had double-digit revenue growth, and we set records in all key profit measures, with EPS coming in above a dollar for the first time in our company's history."

Boosted by its Super Bowl coverage, the company's flagship network generated nearly $1.6 billion in ad sales during the first quarter, a 41% increase over a year earlier, according to estimates compiled by MoffettNathanson Research. The game, won by the Denver Broncos over the Carolina Panthers, was seen by an average of 119 million viewers, the third most in history. CBS also benefited by airing a fourth National Football League playoff game in 2016, one more than in 2015.

The company said its entertainment unit, which provides more than half the company's earnings and includes the TV network as well as its studio operations, generated $449 million in operating income, a 30% hike from a year earlier, in large measure due to a 49% increase in ad sales that largely included the football games. It also saw 12% growth in what it called its "underlying advertising" separate from its football coverage.

In its most recent week, the CBS network broadcast five of the top 10 shows, with The Big Bang Theory leading with more than 14 million viewers. In the most recent week, CBS shows lured an average of 11 million viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research, leading Comcast's (CMCSA) - Get Comcast Corporation Class A Report NBC, which had 8.2 million viewers in second among the five largest English-language TV networks. CBS also led in the number of viewers aged 18 to 49 that advertisers want, with 2.9 million to NBC's 2.8 million.

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Operating income at CBS's cable operations, which includes the Showtime premium cable channel, fell by 10%, however, due to lower revenue from international licensing of its shows last year, which had benefited from what it called "a significant multiyear licensing agreement with Bell Media," one of Canada's leading cable operators. It also cited the costs associated with producing the premiere season of Billions on Showtime.

The company's TV studio, which produces NCIS and NCIS: New Orleans, among other shows, also saw a lower benefit from selling those shows in overseas markets. In January CBS announced an agreement with European satellite giant Sky to carry Showtime programming including Billions, Dexter and Nurse Jackie. It also signed a deal with Stan, Australia's leading local video-on-demand service, to show Showtime programming.

CBS, which has set a goal of collecting $1 billion by 2017 in "retransmission" and other fees from cable and satellite operators that carry its programming, said revenue for its local TV stations increased by 18% in part due to higher retransmission fees but did not break out specific numbers. Moonves said in his statement that the company expected to surpass $1 billion in retransmission fees in 2016. 

The company's licensing of TV shows fell in the most recent quarter, the company added, because it enjoyed "significant" sales in last year's quarter of NCIS and CSI.

Finally, CBS's Simon & Schuster publishing unit generated $145 million in revenue, even with a year earlier, and a hike to $13 million in operating income from $12 million in the first quarter of 2015. Digital revenue represented 28% of overall revenue in the quarter, it said, with its best-selling titles including Lady Midnight: The Dark Artifices by Cassandra Clare and As Time Goes By by Mary Higgins Clark.

Earlier this year, the company said it intended to separate its radio business, but it provided no immediate details. 

This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held positions in CBS, Comcast and ThomsonReuters.