ViacomCBS Touts 19.2M U.S. Streaming Subscribers Ahead of Paramount+ Debut

(Image credit: ViacomCBS)

NEW YORK—The building of ViacomCBS’ streaming strategy was among the company’s goals in 2020, according to President & CEO Bob Bakish. Well, its Q4 and full-year 2020 numbers checked off that goal, per a ViacomCBS press release.

According to ViacomCBS, it’s global streaming subscribers rose to nearly 30 million in Q4, up about 56% from where it was in Q4 2019. Domestically, ViacomCBS reported it finished the quarter with 19.2 million subscribers, up 71% year-over-year, supported by what the company says was the “best quarter ever in sign-ups” for CBS All Access and Showtime OTT. Pluto TV, which ViacomCBS also owns, was also on the rise, growing its monthly active users to 43 million globally, an increase of 80% year-over-year.

As for what that meant financially, ViacomCBS reports its global streaming and digital video revenue was $888 million in Q4 2020, up 71% from the same period in 2019. $845 million of that was from domestic totals. For the full year, ViacomCBS reported $2.56 billion in streaming and digital video revenue, an increase of 49% from 2019.

This growth in streaming comes ahead of CBS All Access being rebranded to Paramount+ on March 4 with new and expanded content.

In terms of traditional TV, revenue was down both for Q4 ($3.11 billion) and the full year ($10.7 billion), thanks in large part due to dips in advertising and content licensing. However, affiliate revenue served as the lone area of growth, increasing 23% year-over-year in Q4 and for the full-year, driven by growth in reverse compensation and retransmission fees, as well as streaming subscription revenue from CBS All Access.

For cable, revenue saw a solid year-over-year growth from Q4 2019 to Q4 2020, increasing 11% from $3.08 billion to $3.43 billion. This was boosted by affiliate revenue as well as advertising revenue. However, full-year growth for cable was smaller, with 2020’s $12.58 billion just 1% more than 2019’s $12.44 billion.

“We started 2020 with clear goals: unlock the power of our combination, build robust operating momentum and accelerate our streaming strategy—and we delivered,” said Bakish. “In Q4, despite the ongoing impacts of COVID-19, we finished the year with strong advertising and affiliate results that demonstrate the strength of our core businesses and achieved incredible growth across our linked streaming ecosystem, reaching nearly 30 million global subscribers and over 43 million Pluto TV global MAUs.”

During a livestream event, ViacomCBS would also announce more details on Paramount+, including setting $4.99 ad-supported and $9.99 premium prices, that Paramount  films will debut exclusively on the platform 30-45 days after their theatrical release and new programming that will be available on the streamer.

For more information, visit ViacomCBS’s investor website