ViacomCBS sees revenue, streaming subscribers grow in Q3 financial results

ViacomCBS reported revenue of US$6.6 billion in the third quarter of 2021, up 13% from the previous year, as the company added 4.3 million global streaming subscribers in the period ...
November 4, 2021

ViacomCBS reported revenue of US$6.6 billion in the third quarter of 2021, up 13% from the previous year, as the company added 4.3 million global streaming subscribers in the period to hit almost 47 million total.

In its earnings report released Thursday (November 4), the media conglomerate announced that quarterly global streaming revenue passed the $1 billion mark for the first time as growth increased 62% year-over-year, driven by growth in advertising on its Pluto TV and Paramount+ services.

In terms of streaming subscription revenue, ViacomCBS saw growth of 79% from the year-earlier period to almost $1.08 billion. Streaming ad revenue was up 48% year-over-year, driven mostly by Pluto TV, which saw its global monthly active users grow by 54 million and revenue soar 99% from the year-earlier period.

Streaming subscriber growth in the quarter was led by Paramount+, which saw strong gains in domestic signups and engagement, led by A Quiet Place Part II, Paw Patrol: The Movie and the beginning of the NFL season. Globally, Paramount+ has had strong launches to date, led by progress in Latin America, Brazil, Canada and Australia, while its Showtime OTT service benefited from original programming such as Billions, American Rust and The Chi.

ViacomCBS’s TV division saw revenue grow 24%, driven primarily by higher licensing, streaming and affiliate revenue, partially offset by lower ad revenue. Adjusted OIBDA for the quarter was down 21% from the previous year on increased investment in Paramount+.

On the cable side, revenue was up 13% from last year, reflecting growth across all revenue streams. Adjusted OIBDA rose 5% year-over-year but was partly offset by greater investment in streaming services and a higher level of original programming.

The company also announced SkyShowtime, a joint venture with Comcast that will include premium and original content from both companies, which is expected to reach more than 20 European territories and some 90 million homes.

Overall ad revenue grew 1% year-over-year, which the company attributed to an improved advertising marketplace and partly offset by lower linear impressions, fewer political ads and the absence of CNET Media Group, which was sold in Q4 of 2020. Licensing and other revenue, including fees from licensing of the company’s internally-produced TV and film content across third-party platforms, as well as fees generated from home entertainment, consumer products and live events, rose 18% year-over-year.

On the filmed entertainment side, revenues fell 2% year-over-year on lower licensing revenues, but was partially offset by the current quarter’s theatrical releases. Adjusted OIBDA slipped $16 million year-over-year on lower profits from current-year releases due to higher distribution costs.

“ViacomCBS continued to show tremendous momentum across the business as we executed against our strategy,” said president and CEO Bob Bakish (pictured) in a statement. “We added 4.3 million global streaming subscribers, raising our total to nearly 47 million, driven by the scaling of the diverse content offering on Paramount+. Looking forward, we’re thrilled about the fresh array of content coming to Paramount+ in the next few months and can’t wait to share it with our global audience. Our strategy is clearly working and we’ll continue to use the power of global content, distribution and market expansion to drive scale.”

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.