ViacomCBS Q3: U.S. Streaming Revenue +56%, Driven By 78% Sub Revenue Growth

ViacomCBS’s domestic streaming and digital video revenue rose 56% in the third quarter to $636 million, up from $407 million in third-quarter 2019, the company reported this morning.

Streaming and digital revenue totaled $471 million in Q1 2020 and $489 million in Q2 2020.

The growth was driven by a 78% increase in subscription streaming revenue and a double-digit gain in digital video advertising revenue, ViacomCBS said.

Domestic streaming paid subscribers reached 17.9M, up 72% year-over-year, with CBS All Access and Showtime OTT seeing “significant growth” in sign-ups year-over-year and in comparison with Q2 2020, according to the company. 

Ad-supported video-on-demand service Pluto TV, acquired by Viacom in January 2019, saw domestic monthly active users (MAUs) increase 57% YoY, to 28.4 million. 

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The AVOD, which recently launched in Spain and is set to expand to Brazil, France and Italy, now has 7.5 million users outside the U.S., bringing its total domestic and international users to 35.9 million.

Pluto TV has also signed new distribution agreements with LG and Sony PlayStation, extending its reach to an additional 100M+ devices worldwide.

Pluto TV’s advertising revenue more than doubled versus the year-ago quarter, according to ViacomCBS, although it did not provide the dollar amounts. 

With Tom Ryan now in place as president and CEO of a newly formed global streaming organization that integrates oversight and content sharing for the paid and free streaming services, the company confirmed it’s on track for an early 2021 relaunch of CBS All Access as the expanded Paramount+ offering.

Overall Ad Revenue Loss Trimmed to -6% 

ViacomCBS’s total ad revenues were down 6%, to $2.19 billion, for the quarter.

That was a significant improvement from a 27% drop in ad revenue during Q2, the period hardest-hit by pandemic advertising cutbacks, and from Q1’s 19% decline, which included some early-in-the-crisis ad cutbacks in March.

Affiliate revenue rose 10% YoY, driven by subscription streaming revenue growth, higher reverse compensation and retransmission fees, and expanded cable distribution.

Content licensing revenue dropped 33% YoY, reflecting a lower volume of licensing compared to the prior-year quarter, driven by the timing of program availabilities and the adverse impacts of COVID.

Theatrical revenue was “immaterial” in the quarter due to the closure or reduction in capacity of movie theaters in response to the pandemic.

Publishing revenue rose 29%, driven by strong print and digital sales of political titles from Simon & Schuster, including Mary Trump’s “Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man,” and Bob Woodward’s “Rage.”

The company’s total revenues for Q3 were down 9% YoY, to $6.1 billion.

Net earnings were $615 or $1 per share, down from $630 million or $1.02 per share in Q3 2019.

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