Business

ViacomCBS touts ‘Paramount+’ to investors after mixed earnings

ViacomCBS Inc said on Wednesday it expects to reach as many as 75 million global streaming subscribers by the end of 2024, with global streaming revenue to rise to more than $7 billion by that time.

“This is a ViacomCBS that is being reimagined for a new kind of marketplace and a new kind of consumer,” said Chair Shari Redstone.

In a presentation to investors after releasing fourth-quarter results, the company laid out plans for its Paramount+ streaming service.

The home to MTV, Nickelodeon and Showtime is launching the service – an expanded version of its existing CBS All Access streamer – on March 4 with a $9.99 per month ad-free version and in June with a $4.99 ad-supported version.

In its fourth-quarter results, ViacomCBS said it had amassed 30 million global paid subscribers to All Access and other streaming properties, including 19.2 million U.S. subscribers.

Paramount+ will be competing in a crowded streaming landscape dominated by Netflix Inc, which has 200 million subscribers, and Walt Disney Co’s Disney+, with 94.9 million subscribers.

CBS launched All Access in 2014. The company’s 2019 merger with Viacom, a sister company also controlled by the Redstone family, allowed for more content on the service, including films from Paramount Pictures. Paramount+ will have more than 2500 movies.

ViacomCBS hopes to distinguish Paramount+ from other streaming services through an emphasis on live sports and news. It will launch Paramount+ in the United States, Canada and Latin America on March 4; in the Nordics on March 25, and in Australia in mid-2021.

On Wednesday Chief Executive Bob Bakish said that in 2021, Paramount+ will debut 36 original series across different genres.

The company will be bringing back the music documentary series “Behind the Music” to Paramount+, as well as “Frasier,” the final season of “Younger” and a new weekly show hosted by Trevor Noah, among other programming.

Some new Paramount films will go exclusively to Paramount+ 30 to 45 days after theatrical release, Bakish said. All other new Paramount movies will appear on Paramount+ after their theatrical release, some as early as 90 days.

“Mission: Impossible 7” will debut in theaters on Nov. 19 and debut on Paramount+ 45 days later. “A Quiet Place II” will also come to Paramount+ 45 days after its theatrical release. The rest of Paramount’s 2021 film slate will be coming to Paramount+ in 2022.

Revenue rose 3% to $6.87 billion in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31. Wall Street’s consensus was $6.89 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

The company said not all analysts factored in the pending sale of its publishing division Simon & Schuster, which was agreed in the fourth quarter and was treated as a discontinued operation.

Net earnings attributable to ViacomCBS were $783 million, or $1.26 per share, compared with a loss of $302 million, or 49 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, ViacomCBS earned $1.04 per share, slightly above estimates of $1.02.