ViacomCBS Streaming Subs Up 6 Million to 36 Million

Paramount Plus key art
(Image credit: Paramount Plus)

ViacomCBS reported higher first quarter earnings as its streaming businesses--including Paramount Plus and Pluto TV--reported gains in subscribers, users and revenue.

A significant majority of those new subscribers were  to Paramount Plus, and of those, a significant majority were domestic customers, the company said. Conversion rates and churn improved in April from March and a year ago.

Also Read: ViacomCBS To Double Streaming Content Spending

ViacomCBS said it increased its global streaming revenue by 65% to $816 million, as it topped 36 million total streaming subscribers, up 6 million, and its Pluto TV AVOD unit added 6 million monthly active users to reach almost 50 million.

Streaming subscription revenue rose 69%, driven by “significant momentum” for Paramount Plus, the company said. Paramount Plus signup gains were boosted by the Super Bowl, the NCAA men’s basketball tournament and Oprah with Meghan and Harry. Paramount Plus also benefited from kids programming and original series The Stand and Star Trek: Discovery.

Streaming ad revenue increased 62%, with domestic growth and international expansion at Pluto TV. 

“In Q1, we accelerated our expansion in streaming with the launch of Paramount Plus further enhancing ViacomCBS’ ecosystem of premium, pay and free services," said CEO Bob Bakish. "The strong consumer response we have seen is evident in today’s numbers – we have grown global streaming revenue 65 percent year-over-year and we added 6M global streaming subscribers, driven by Paramount Plus, to reach 36M streaming subscribers globally.” 

“In addition, we now have almost 50M global Pluto TV MAUs," Bakish said. "Our early momentum in streaming is a testament to the breadth and relevance of our differentiated offerings, as well as our opportunities for growth through Paramount Plus , as we continue to ramp the availability of live sports, original series and blockbuster movies over the course of the year. ViacomCBS also achieved another strong quarter of results in our advertising and affiliate businesses, which continue to demonstrate the extraordinary power of our company to reach audiences and deliver for our partners globally.” 

As a whole, ViacomCBS had net earnings of $911 million, or $1.44 a share, up from $516 million, or 84 cents a share.

Revenue rose 14% to $7.4 billion.

Ad revenue was up 12% to $2.68 billion as CBS broadcast Super Bowl LV and NCAA tournament games.

Affiliate revenue rose 5% to $2.075 billion.

Viacom's TV Entertainment Group, which includes CBS and Paramount Plus a 22% drop in adjusted operating income before depreciation and amortization to $449 million. 

Viacom’s cable network, which includes Pluto TV, saw OIBDA rise 49% to $1.184 billion as revenue rose 14% to $3.2 billion.

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.