NEW YORK—ViacomCBS’ newly launched streaming service Paramount+ was a driving force for its streaming subscriptions in the first quarter of 2021, which saw an addition of 6 million new subscribers for a total of 36 million across all its platforms.
This is based on ViacomCBS’ first quarter 2021 earnings report, which is the first to include data on Paramount+ (a revamped version of CBS All Access) following its launch in March.
According to ViacomCBS, the 6 million global subscriber additions were led by Paramount+, with live sports, kids content and original programming cited as the biggest drivers of sign-ups.
ViacomCBS’ other OTT platform, Showtime OTT, also had its best quarter of sign-ups, the company reports. Meanwhile, global Pluto TV monthly active users rose by about 6 million, bringing the total to 50 million.
ViacomCBS’ streaming revenue increased 65% year-over-year to $816 million; advertising accounted for $428 million (a 62% year-over-year increase) and subscriptions accounted for $388 (a 69% year-over-year increase).
Looking at other segments of ViacomCBS, TV entertainment revenue grew 19%, reaching $3.51 billion. However, the adjusted OIBDA of TV entertainment decreased 22% year-over-year because of the investment that was put into Paramount+. For cable, ViacomCBS reported a 14% year-over-year increase to $3.26 billion and an adjusted OIBDA that was up 49%, reaching $1.18 billion for Q1 2021.
“In Q1, we accelerated our expansion in streaming with the launch of Paramount+ further enhancing ViacomCBS’ ecosystem of premium, pay and free services. The strong consumer response we have seen is evident in today’s numbers,” said Bob Bakish, president and CEO of ViacomCBS. “Our early momentum in streaming is a testament to the breadth and relevance of our differentiated offerings, as well as our opportunities for growth through Paramount+, as we continue to ramp the availability of live sports, original series and blockbuster movies over the course of the year.”
Bakish elaborated on some of those plans in an earnings call. As reported by The Hollywood Reporter, Paramount+ will add more movie titles to its catalog, including original films. The Mark Wahlberg-Chiwetel Ejiofor movie “Infinite” has already been announced to skip theaters and debut on the platform in June, while Bakish says that they plan to debut an average of an original movie a week in 2022. Details were scarce on this plan, though Bakish did say that ViacomCBS was committed to the theater experience for many of its movies.
For more information, see ViacomCBS’ full Q1 2021 earnings report.
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