ViacomCBS Claims U.S. Streaming Subscribers Climb to 19.2 Million

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ViacomCBS reported a big increase in streaming subscribers and revenue--and swung to a profit in the fourth quarter--as it prepares for the key launch of Paramount Plus next month.

The company is looking to pivot from dependence on traditional TV to streaming and will reveal more details of Paramount Plus Wednesday afternoon.

Domestic streaming subscriptions were up to 19.2 million, up 71% from a year ago, and Pluto TV monthly average users were up to 30.1 million.

Net earnings for the fourth quarter were $810 million, or $1.31 a share, compared to a $258 million net loss, or 42 cents a share, a year ago. 

Revenues rose 3% to $6.874 billion from $6.656 billion a year ago. Ad revenue rose 4% to $3.145 billion globally and 2% domestically. Affiliate revenue was up 13%.

ViacomCBS said streaming and digital video revenue rose 71% to $888 million, driven by 74% growth in streaming subscription revenue and 69% streaming ad revenue growth. 

“We started 2020 with clear goals: unlock the power of our combination, build robust operating momentum and accelerate our streaming strategy – and we delivered,” said CEO Bob Bakish. 

“In Q4, despite the ongoing impacts of COVID-19, we finished the year with strong advertising and affiliate results that demonstrate the strength of our core businesses and achieved incredible growth across our linked streaming ecosystem, reaching nearly 30 million global subscribers and over 43 million Pluto TV global MAUs. At today’s streaming investor event, we look forward to showcasing our opportunity to expand our position and bring ViacomCBS content and brands to streaming audiences around the world,” Bakish said.

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.