ViacomCBS Rebrands, Sees Streaming Gains


ViacomCBS—which is rebranding as Paramount effective today—reported a 16 percent boost in revenues for Q4, driven in part by gains in its streaming business, which took center stage at the company’s Investor Day yesterday.

“Paramount is an idea: A promise to be the best,” said Shari Redstone, non-executive chair of the company’s board of directors. “That promise has always been at the center of what we aspired to build as the steward of more than a century of cinematic excellence, and with businesses and brands that have defined and redefined entertainment for generation after generation. We have made enormous progress, and I have never been more excited about the future of this company.”

Bob Bakish, president and CEO, added, “Paramount’s iconic peak represents a rich history for our company as pioneers in the Golden Age of Hollywood. Today, as we embrace the Paramount name, we are pioneers of an exciting new future.”

Paramount+ took center stage at Investor Day, with the company unveiling a raft of new content initiatives and the addition of Showtime content for an added subscription fee. “We see a huge global opportunity in streaming, a much larger potential market than can be captured by linear TV and film alone,” continued Bakish. “We’re excited about our ability to not just compete, but thrive, creating significant value for both consumers and shareholders. How? Because we’re broader in four key areas: our diverse content, streaming model, mix of platforms and global reach. As we look forward, the size of the opportunity we see is matched only by our ambition to seize it.”

The company has set a goal of reaching more than 100 million subs by the end of 2024, an upward revision of its previous target of 65 million to 75 million customers. The DTC revenue goal has been upped from $6 billion to $9 billion.

“In just one year, Paramount+ has outperformed all expectations,” said Naveen Chopra, executive VP and CFO. “Our powerful content, marketing and distribution engines drove explosive growth as further proof of our ability to establish a sustainable, large-scale streaming business with a differentiated global playbook.”

Q4 revenues hit $8 billion, a 16 percent gain, with ad and affiliate revenues up slightly to $2.6 billion and $2.1 billion respectively, and streaming revenues up 48 percent to $1.3 billion. Within streaming, ad revenues were up 26 percent to $684 million and subscription was up 84 percent to $631 million. Licensing and other revenues were up 45 percent to $1.9 billion, with theatrical at $39 million.

The TV entertainment segment—encompassing Paramount+, CBS Entertainment, CBS Sports, CBS Studios and CBS News and Stations–delivered revenues of $3.7 billion, an 18 percent increase, with ad revenues up 2 percent, affiliate up 5 percent, streaming up 64 percent and licensing rising 51 percent. Revenues at the cable networks were up 17 percent to $4 billion, with $1.1 billion from advertising, $1.4 billion from affiliate fees and $826 million from streaming (including Pluto TV). Filmed entertainment revenues rose by 61 percent to $826 million.

“In the fourth quarter you saw the power of strategy and strength of execution across the company,” said Bakish. “Our success was evident across all lines of business and spotlighted by streaming, where we achieved our best quarter ever in streaming subscription growth—more than doubling our subscriber additions from last quarter with a record 9.4 million additions, expanding our total global streaming subscribers to over 56 million. And, to top it off, we saw meaningful acceleration in our global Pluto TV MAUs, to reach over 64 million and generate over $1 billion in revenue in the year. This sets us up well for 2022, where I’m tremendously excited to continue to build on this powerful momentum—investing in global content, distribution and market expansion—to further drive scale.