5 AUG 2021

ViacomCBS reaches 42 million global paid streaming users

ViacomCBS added about 6.5 million global streaming subscribers in its second quarter, mainly driven by its Paramount+ streaming service, to reach more than 42 million global paid streaming users, the company informed on Thursday.

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ViacomCBS added about 6.5 million global streaming subscribers in its second quarter, mainly driven by its Paramount+ streaming service, which debuted during the period, to reach more than 42 million global paid streaming users, the company informed on Thursday.

In the United States, Paramount+ originals drove strong subscriber sign-ups and engagement. The top drivers of this included the new “iCarly” series, “Infinite,” UEFA Champions League, “The Challenge: All Stars” and “Why Women Kill”. Total viewing hours and watch time per active subscriber grew quarter-over-quarter.

Internationally, Paramount+ launches to date have had strong momentum, led by its progress in Latin America. The service is about to launch in Australia and New Zealand this August and in key European markets, including the UK, Ireland, Italy, Germany, Switzerland and Austria in 2022 as part of a new partnership with Sky.

On the other hand, global expansion and domestic growth helped global Pluto TV MAUs exceed 52 million in the quarter and revenue surge 169% year-over-year, more than doubling for the fourth quarter in a row.

The group’s streaming revenues rose 92% year-over-year. In detail, streaming advertising revenue more than doubled, growing 102% year-over-year, driven by growth in advertising on Pluto TV, Paramount+ and other digital video platforms. At the same time, streaming subscription revenue grew 82% year-over-year, reflecting strong subscriber growth across the company’s subscription services.

Advertising revenue grew 24% year-over-year, driven by CBS’ broadcasts of 2021 sporting events for which there were no comparable broadcasts in the prior-year period as a result of Covid-19, and an improved advertising market. Meanwhile, affiliate revenue increased 9% year-over-year, reflecting expanded distribution and higher reverse compensation and retransmission fees.

“In a quarter of strong business performance, including growth in advertising and affiliate, streaming was a standout. We continued to accelerate our global streaming momentum and delivered phenomenal results across our flagship streaming services. For the second consecutive quarter, Paramount+ fueled more than 6 million additions to our global streaming subscription base, which now reaches over 42 million. This growth was driven by the power of the service’s differentiated content strategy and expanding content slate. Looking ahead, we're excited about our opportunity to build on this momentum, as we scale Paramount+'s content offerings across genres and expand our reach with global audiences,”  commented Bob Bakish, President & CEO of ViacomCBS.

●  AUDIENCE DEMAND FOR VIACOMCBS’ CONTENT

As ViacomCBS released its latest earnings report, Parrot Analytics has found that the high US audience demand for ViacomCBS content is not being correctly leveraged to set up Paramount+ for success, and that ViacomCBS is propping up the demand of Paramount+’s direct competitors including Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video.

In the second quarter of 2021, ViacomCBS had the second highest corporate demand share of any media conglomerate in the United States, behind only Disney. Meanwhile, Paramount+ was merely the sixth most in-demand streaming platform in US audience demand for all on-platform content, and the seventh most in-demand streaming platform for digital original content.

The reason behind this is that ViacomCBS has decided to go for guaranteed revenue now by licensing out its most in-demand series - such as “Criminal Minds,” “NCIS,” “Shameless,” and “Spongebob Squarepants” - to other streaming platforms. In fact, ViacomCBS content makes up 7.4% of the licensed catalog demand for Hulu, 24.8% for Amazon Prime Video, and 25.6% for Netflix.

“Demand for exclusive content - both original and licensed - is the key driver of subscription growth and retention for streaming services, so if ViacomCBS wants to truly compete in the crowded SVOD space, they have to pull back their licensed content and make it exclusive to Paramount+,”  Parrot says.

In terms of corporate demand share - a consolidation of original demand where platforms are combined based on their corporate parent to show where audience attention is ultimately going - ViacomCBS (12.3%) was second place in the United States in Q2 2021, behind Disney (18.9%) but ahead of WarnerMedia (11%) and Comcast (10.3%).

In a quarter of strong business performance, including growth in advertising and affiliate, streaming was a standout” Bob Bakish President & CEO of ViacomCBS