ViacomCBS US Subscription Streaming Revenue Soars 78% in Q3

Mary Trump and Bob Woodward books boost Simon & Schuster

ViacomCBS says its U.S. subscription streaming revenue jumped 78% in the third quarter of 2020, the company revealed in its Q3 earnings report Friday.

According to ViacomCBS, its domestic streaming subscriber count, which includes both CBS All Access (soon to be rebranded and launched as Paramount+ in early 2021) and Showtime OTT customers, reached 17.9 million in the quarter ended Sept. 30, 2020, which is up 72% year-over-year.

On the free side, Pluto TV domestic monthly active users (MAUs) rose to 28.4 million, +57 from the same time period last year.

Overall, ViacomCBS’s domestic streaming and digital video revenue rose 56% from the comparable 2019 quarter to $636 million, with the above-mentioned 78% spike for subscription streaming alone.

Sales for ViacomCBS’ publishing arm Simon & Schuster were up 29% thanks to the releases of Mary Trump’s “Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man” and “Rage” by Bob Woodward.

With almost all movie theaters closed, the company’s theatrical revenue once again took a hit, plummeting 94%.

ViacomCBS beat analysts predictions Friday, as Wall Street had forecast earnings of 80 cents per share on $5.94 billion in revenue, according to a Yahoo Finance compilation of estimates. ViacomCBS actually reported EPS (earnings per share) of 99 cents on $6.116 billion in revenue. The company’s revenue was -9% from 2019, when ViacomCBS reported $6.698 billion.

ViacomCBS recently underwent a streaming-business shakeup ahead of CBS All Access rebranding as Paramount+. Tom Ryan is taking over that business-of-the-future as Marc DeBevoise departs.

“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,” ViacomCBS president and CEO Bob Bakish said in a statement prepared to accompany Friday’s financials. “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+ ahead of its launch in early 2021, and more recently, the unification of our global streaming organization. Our company’s transformation is ahead of schedule and we are incredibly excited by the opportunities ahead.”

ViacomCBS stock (VIAC) closed Thursday at $31.29 per share. The stock markets reopen for regular trading at 9:30 a.m. ET.

Bakish and other ViacomCBS executives will host a conference call at 8:30 a.m. ET to discuss the quarter in greater detail.

More to come…

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