ViacomCBS edges past revenue estimates on streaming strength

Business

ViacomCBS Inc (VIAC.O) on Thursday posted better-than-expected quarterly revenue, helped by more subscriber additions to its fast-growing streaming platforms and strong advertising sales.

The company added 4.3 million global streaming subscribers in the quarter, led by Paramount+, bringing the total to nearly 47 million. Content including “A Quiet Place Part II”, “Paw Patrol: The Movie”, the return of the NFL, and the new CBS fall television season contributed to that growth.

A large part of the media giant’s business was buoyed by a rebound in ad-spending, driven by the resumption of live sports.

That, coupled with viewers flocking to the company’s diverse cable and streaming network that includes PlutoTV, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, Showtime and Paramount+ has bumped up subscription additions.

With people now stepping out seeking in-person entertainment and increased pressure on traditional pay-TV services, media companies across the industry are looking to bolster their streaming services to take on giants like Netflix (NFLX.O) and Walt Disney Co’s (DIS.N) Disney+. Bundling services together through commercial partnerships is one option.

U.S wireless carrier T-Mobile (TMUS.O) said on Thursday customers who pay a monthly bill and home internet plan subscribers would get Paramount+ Essential (which does not include local live CBS station coverage) free for a year.

Revenue rose 13% to $6.61 billion in the third quarter ended Sept. 30. Analysts on average had expected $6.57 billion, according to Refinitiv data.

ViacomCBS’ streaming revenue rose 62% during the quarter to about $1.1 billion.

On a call with investors the company said it expects fourth-quarter streaming expenses, including content and marketing, to rise $350 million relative to third-quarter streaming costs.

Operating income stood at $879 million, down from $903 million, a year earlier. Adjusted profit of 76 cents was in-line with Wall Street’s estimate.