ViacomCBS Reports Dip in 3rd Quarter Earnings

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(Image credit: ViacomCBS)

ViacomCBS reported lower third-quarter earnings but pointed to progress as it pivots to streaming and prepares to launch its Paramount Plus service.

Net earnings fell 2% to $615 million, or $1 a share, from $630 million, or $1.02, a year ago

Revenue fell 9% to $6.116 billion.

Advertising revenue fell 6% to $2.188 billion, with domestic ad revenue down 5% to $1.908 billion and international falling 12% to $280 million. 

Affiliate revenue rose 10% to $2.365 billion, with domestic revenue up 11% to $2.202 billion and international slipping 2% to $163 million.

Content licensing revenue was down 33% to $1.221 billion.

Streaming and digital video revenue was up 56% to $636 million. At Pluto TV, monthly average users increased 575 to 28.4 million and ad revenue more than doubled The company said its domestic streaming subscribers rose 72% to 17.9 million.

The company’s TV entertainment unit, which includes CBS and its TV stations, had adjusted opening income before depreciation and amortization of $343 million, down 26%. Ad revenue was down 1% with political advertising largely offsetting the timing of sporting event and lower demand.

Affiliate revenue was up 25% to $803 million.

Cable network OIBDA was up 3% to $866 million, despite a 7% drop in revenues. Ad revenue was down 11% to $1.135 and affiliate revenue was up 4% to $1.135 billion. Content licensing was down 26% to $364 million.

Filmed Entertainment OIBDA was down 18% to $54 million as revenue dropped 31% to $6 million.

“As we near the first anniversary of the ViacomCBS merger, I’m thrilled about the way our organization has come together to realize the power of the combination and seize our unique global opportunity in streaming,” said CEO Bob Bakish.

“This quarter, we achieved strong user growth across our streaming platforms as we continue to build our linked ecosystem of pay and free services – with big steps taken, including the preview and brand reveal of Paramount Plus  ahead of its launch in early 2021, and more recently, the unification of our global streaming organization,” Bakish said. “Our company’s transformation is ahead of schedule and we are incredibly excited by the opportunities ahead.”

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.