ViacomCBS released its first quarter report with some upbeat numbers for its rebranded Paramount+ streaming service, adding 6 million new subscribers for a grand total of 36 million global paid users.
The report made it clear that the company’s content strategy revolved around “leaning into unscripted, scripted and movies.” CEO Bob Bakish delivered the report ahead of the market open today (Thursday, May 6) on an earnings call, stating that a “significant majority” of new users signed up for Paramount+, and of those new subscribers a “significant majority” were domestic.
The report stated that the biggest drivers of sign-ups for Paramount+ were live sports and specials, including the Super Bowl, NCAA Tournament, UEFA Champions League, Oprah with Meghan and Harry, and The Grammy Awards. Kids’ content, including programming from the SpongeBob universe and iCarly, and original programming, including The Stand and Star Trek: Discovery, were also big drivers of new sign-ups.
Reporting on SHOWTIME OTT, ViacomCBS stated that the brand “delivered its best quarter ever in sign-ups, streams and hours watched, driven by originals, including Your Honor and Shameless, as well as theatricals. Global Pluto TV MAUs rose to nearly 50M, adding 6M global MAUs in the quarter. Pluto TV MAUs grew both domestically and internationally. Pluto TV international expansion continued, launching in France in Q1.”
In terms of hard numbers, ViacomCBS’s global streaming revenue rose an impressive 65% to $816 million, up from Q1 2020 of $494 million. Subscription revenue was equally robust with a 69% rise to $388 million, from $229m in 2020 reflecting 63% growth in global streaming subscribers. And global streaming ad revenue rose 62% to $428m up from last year’s Q1 of $265m.
Advertising revenue, which excludes streaming revenue, grew 21% year-over-year, driven by CBS’ broadcasts of Super Bowl LV and NCAA Tournament games, which were partially offset by lower linear impressions. Affiliate revenue, which excludes streaming revenue, increased 5% year-over-year, reflecting higher reverse compensation and retransmission fees, as well as expanded distribution, partially offset by a decline in cable subscribers.
In terms of Pluto TV, global monthly active users (MAUs) rose to nearly 50M, adding 6M global MAUs in the quarter. The brand’s MAUs grew both domestically and internationally with Pluto TV launching in France in Q1
The report comes on the heels of ViacomCBS’s stock option in March to raise $2 billion to bolster its streaming content.