ViacomCBS Q3 results: Growth in streaming business

The company now expects to hit 19 million domestic subscriptions by the year-end.

New Delhi: ViacomCBS delivered better-than-expected profit and revenue in Q3 on the back of robust growth in streaming, with domestic subscribers rising to 17.9 million up 72 per cent year-on-year (YoY).

The mass media company's total revenue declined 9 per cent to $6.12 billion, but this was higher than market projections of $5.94 billion

It also raised its annual paid subscriber forecast for its streaming services, after nearly hitting its previous target a full quarter ahead of time on strong demand for indoor entertainment during the pandemic.

The streaming services registered significant growth in sign-ups, the company said, as CBS All Access benefited from strong demand for sports content and Showtime OTT from shows like The Chi and Billions.  It now expects to hit 19 million domestic subscriptions by the year-end for its streaming services, CBS All Access and Showtime, compared to its earlier estimate of 18 million.

Revenue from streaming and digital video surged 56 per cent to $636 million in the third quarter, helped by a more than doubling of ad sales from its free, ad-supported Pluto TV.

Pluto TV Domestic MAUs also increased to 28.4M, up 57 per cent YoY.

ViacomCBS competes in a crowded US video streaming market with dominant players such as Netflix with close to 200 million global customers and Walt Disney Co, which has more than 100 million global paid customers for its streaming platform.

Overall advertisement revenue, however, fell 6 per cent but improved from a 27 per cent plunge in the second quarter.

Revenue in the company's filmed entertainment division, which includes Paramount Pictures, tumbled 31 per cent, primarily due to lower licensing revenue and theatre closures including limited seating, across the US and Europe.

The company is on track to debut Paramount+ in early 2021 as a differentiated offering spanning live sports, breaking news and entertainment, including new and franchise-based originals.

Excluding items, the company earned 91 cents per share, beating estimates of 80 cents.

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