Tough Q1 for ViacomCBS but soaring streaming sets stall for 2020 | Major Businesses | Business
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It may have seen cable network affiliate fees improved sequentially, significant growth in US streaming, expand its carriage deal with YouTube TV, but mega media company ViacomCBS has posted a difficult first quarter of the year with a marked fall in overall revenues and a substantial drop in operating income.
Pluto TV UI Multi Device 3March2020
For the quarter ended 31 March 2020, Viacom CBS reported revenues of $6.669 billion, down 6% compared with the first quarter of 2019, with operating income almost halving year-on-year to $917 million. Operating income and net earnings from continuing operations attributable to ViacomCBS for Q1 2019 included a gain on the sale of CBS Television City of $549 million, $386 million net of tax.

Net earnings from continuing operations attributable to ViacomCBS for Q1 2019 also included a deferred tax benefit of $768 million associated with the reorganisation of our international operations.
Looking at the revenue profile during the quarter, advertising declined 19% year-on-year, but increased 2% excluding a 21-percentage point impact from the comparison against CBS’ broadcasts of Super Bowl LIII and the NCAA Tournament in the first quarter of 2019. International advertising revenue included a 10-percentage point negative currency exchange impact.

Affiliate revenue increased 1%, reflecting growth in station affiliation and retransmission fees, as well as subscription streaming revenue, which the company claimed more than offset declines in pay-TV subscribers. International affiliate revenue included an 8-percentage point F/X impact. US streaming and digital video revenue, including streaming subscription and digital video advertising revenue grew to $471 million, up 51% year-over-year.

Fuelled by growth in original studio production for third parties. Paramount Television Studios, CBS Television Studios and Cable, content licensing revenue grew 9%, while Networks’ studios were all said to have benefited from strong content deliveries during the quarter.

The first quarter results’  real story though was with streaming where ViacomCBS delivered strong revenue growth, and saw record sign-ups and consumption across pay and free streaming. US streaming and digital video revenue – which includes streaming subscription and digital video advertising revenue – grew to $471 million, up 51% year-over-year. US streaming subscribers surpassed 13.5 million, up 50% year-over-year. Advertising video-on-demand (AVOD) service Pluto TV saw US monthly active users (MAUs) grew to a record of over 24 million, an increase of 55% year-over-year.

Entering into the second quarter with more consumers at home due to the Covid-19 outbreak, ViacomCBS streaming platforms had their best month, with accelerated subscriber growth and consumption, reinforcing consumer demand for its content. CBS All Access and Showtime OTT sign-ups, daily average streams and minutes watched all rose substantially, compared with March 2020. The Showtime OTT service delivered its best month ever in time watched and total streams. Viewers took advantage of the full catalogue, with streaming of original series, such as Homeland and Penny Dreadful: City of Angels, and films growing 50% and 110% year-on-year, respectively.

ViacomCBS expects more success from the extended carriage deal with YouTube TV. The premium online video service will take 14 Viacom channels. Commenting on the deal, Lori Conkling, global head of partnerships at YouTube TV, said: [The deal] delivers on our promise to offer a premium portfolio of content to our YouTube TV subscribers, as well as across the YouTube platforms.”

“We are thrilled to have reached an expanded agreement with YouTube TV that recognizes the full power of our newly combined portfolio as ViacomCBS,” said ViacomCBS U.S. networks distribution chief Ray Hopkins. “Google has been an excellent partner, and we look forward to bringing even more of our entertainment net