Wednesday, March 16, 2022

ViacomCBS Reports Q4 and Full Year 2021 Earnings Results


NEW YORK, Feb. 15, 2022 --

--- Total Company Revenue Increased 16% Year-Over-Year in Q4, Reflecting Growth Across All Revenue Types

--- Quarterly Global Streaming Revenue Grew 48% Year-Over-Year to $1.3 Billion, Driven by Strength in Subscription and Advertising
-- Added a Record 9.4M Global Streaming Subscribers, Overwhelmingly Led By Paramount+, to Reach
-- Over 56M Subscribers in the Quarter, and Achieved 84% Year-Over-Year Growth in Streaming Subscription Revenue
-- Fueled By a Diverse Global Content Offering, Subscriber Acquisition and Consumption on Paramount+ Accelerated - Driven By Original Scripted Dramas 1883 and Mayor of Kingstown; Family Friendly Films Such As Clifford The Big Red Dog; and Live Sports With The NFL ON CBS
-- Added 10M Pluto TV Global Monthly Active Users (MAUs) to Reach Over 64M and Grew Revenue by 45% Year-Over-Year

--- Strengthened Financial Position by Generating $2.3B of Net Proceeds From Non-Core Asset Dispositions

--- The Company is Hosting Virtual Investor Event Today, Detailing the Momentum of Paramount+ and More


"In the fourth quarter you saw the power of strategy and strength of execution across the company. Our success was evident across all lines of business, and spotlighted by streaming, where we achieved our best quarter ever in streaming subscription growth - more than doubling our subscriber additions from last quarter with a record 9.4M additions, expanding our total global streaming subscribers to over 56M. And, to top it off, we saw meaningful acceleration in our global Pluto TV MAUs, to reach over 64M and generate over $1 billion in revenue in the year. This sets us up well for 2022, where I'm tremendously excited to continue to build on this powerful momentum - investing in global content, distribution, and market expansion - to further drive scale."



--- Advertising revenue grew 1% year-over-year, reflecting improved pricing, partially offset by lower political advertising and lower linear impressions.

--- Affiliate revenue increased 2% year-over-year, reflecting higher reverse compensation, expanded distribution and rate increases, partially offset by subscriber declines.

--- Streaming revenue rose 48% year-over-year:
- Streaming subscription revenue grew 84% year-over-year, reflecting strong subscriber growth from the company's streaming subscription services.
- Streaming advertising revenue grew 26% year-over-year, driven by growth in advertising on Pluto TV and Paramount+.

--- Theatrical revenue reflects the fourth quarter release of Clifford The Big Red Dog, and the third quarter release of PAW Patrol: The Movie, while the prior-year period was impacted by the closure or reduced capacity of movie theaters in response to Covid.

--- Licensing and other revenue increased 45% year-over-year, reflecting a higher volume of licensing, including from the comparison against the impact in 2020 from Covid-related production shutdowns.


--- Global streaming subscribers rose to more than 56M, adding a record breaking 9.4M subscribers in the quarter.
-- Subscriber additions in the quarter were overwhelmingly led by Paramount+, with 7.3M additions, bringing Paramount+ total subscribers to 32.8M in the quarter.
- Domestically, Paramount+ saw record subscriber sign-ups and engagement from a variety of content, including Clifford The Big Red Dog, Mayor of Kingstown, 1883, South Park: Post Covid, live events and the NFL.
- Internationally, Paramount+ had great momentum, reflecting strong global and local content, including local sports such as A-League in Australia.
-- SHOWTIME OTT also had a record quarter with sign-ups and engagement, benefiting from hit originals, including Dexter: New Blood and Yellowjackets.
-- SkyShowtime, the new streaming joint venture with ViacomCBS and Comcast, plans to launch in more than 20 European markets encompassing 90 million homes starting later this year.

--- Pluto TV revenue grew 45% year-over-year to $362M, as additions of 10M grew total MAUs to over 64M in the quarter.
-- During the quarter, Pluto TV launched in Italy, and announced a strategic partnership with Nordic Entertainment Group to bring Pluto TV to Sweden, Denmark, and Norway in 2022.



--- In Q4, CBS had the top scripted broadcast drama with NCIS, the top comedy with Young Sheldon, and the top three new programs with FBI: International, NCIS: Hawai'i and Ghosts. Also, THE NFL ON CBS averaged over 18 million viewers, more than any prime-time television sports, entertainment, or news series on any network this season.

--- Revenue grew 18% year-over-year, reflecting growth across all revenue streams.
-- Advertising revenue increased 2% year-over-year, primarily reflecting improved pricing and an increase in original programming, partially offset by lower political advertising.
-- Affiliate revenue grew 5% year-over-year, driven by growth in reverse compensation.
Streaming revenue rose 64% year-over-year, reflecting subscriber and advertising growth at Paramount+.
-- Licensing and other revenue increased 51% year-over-year, reflecting a higher volume of licensing, including from the comparison against the impact in 2020 from Covid-related production shutdowns.

--- Adjusted OIBDA decreased 73% year-over-year, reflecting the company's increased investment in Paramount+.


--- In Q4, ViacomCBS maintained leadership as the #1 portfolio in share of viewing among key demos (P2+, P12-17, P18-34, P18-49, P25-54), and owned the #1 cable series with Yellowstone and the #1 cable series among K2-11 with Paw Patrol.

--- Revenue increased 17% year-over-year, reflecting growth across all revenue streams.
-- Advertising revenue increased slightly year-over-year, as the benefits from improved pricing and the acquisition of ChilevisiĆ³n were largely offset by lower linear impressions.
-- Affiliate revenue grew 1% year-over-year, reflecting higher revenues from expanded vMVPD distribution, rate increases, and pay-per-view boxing events, partially offset by subscriber declines.
-- Streaming revenue increased 40% year-over-year, largely fueled by advertising revenue growth from Pluto TV, as well as growth in subscribers for subscription streaming services.
-- Licensing and other revenue increased 87% year-over-year, primarily driven by a higher volume of licensing, led by the licensing of programming to Paramount+.
--- Adjusted OIBDA decreased 34% year-over-year, reflecting an increased investment in international streaming services and an increase in original programming.


--- Revenue rose 61% year-over-year, driven by higher theatrical and licensing revenues.
-- Theatrical includes revenues from the fourth quarter release of Clifford The Big Red Dog, and the third quarter release of PAW Patrol: The Movie, while the prior-year period was impacted by the closure or reduced capacity of movie theaters in response to Covid.
-- Licensing and other revenue increased 54% year-over-year driven by a higher volume of licensing, including to our owned streaming services and from the comparison against the impact in 2020 from Covid-related production shutdowns.

--- Adjusted OIBDA increased $36 million year-over-year, reflecting higher profits from the licensing of our content, partially offset by higher distribution costs from the timing of theatrical releases.


--- As of December 31, 2021, the company had $6.3B of cash on its balance sheet and a committed $3.5B revolving credit facility that remains undrawn.

--- Strengthened financial position by generating $2.3B of net proceeds from the sale of the CBS Studio Center and the Black Rock office building.

You can read ViacomCBS's press release featuring the company's 4th Quarter 2021 and Full Year 2021 results report in full, including tables of ViacomCBS' statements and balance sheets, on PR Newswire.


ViacomCBS (NASDAQ: VIAC; VIACA) is a leading global media and entertainment company that creates premium content and experiences for audiences worldwide. Driven by iconic consumer brands, its portfolio includes CBS, Showtime Networks, Paramount Pictures, Nickelodeon, MTV, Comedy Central, BET, Paramount+, Pluto TV and Simon & Schuster, among others. The company delivers the largest share of the U.S. television audience and boasts one of the industry's most important and extensive libraries of TV and film titles. In addition to offering innovative streaming services and digital video products, ViacomCBS provides powerful capabilities in production, distribution and advertising solutions.

For more information about ViacomCBS, please visit and follow @ViacomCBS on social platforms.



This communication contains both historical and forward-looking statements, including statements related to our future results and performance. All statements that are not statements of historical fact are, or may be deemed to be, forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Similarly, statements that describe our objectives, plans or goals are or may be forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements reflect our current expectations concerning future results and events; generally can be identified by the use of statements that include phrases such as "believe," "expect," "anticipate," "intend," "plan," "foresee," "likely," "will," "may," "could," "estimate" or other similar words or phrases; and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that are difficult to predict and which may cause our actual results, performance or achievements to be different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by these statements. These risks, uncertainties and other factors include, among others: risks related to our streaming initiatives; changes in consumer behavior, as well as evolving technologies, distribution platforms and packaging; the impact on our advertising revenues as a result of changes in consumer viewership, advertising market conditions and deficiencies in audience measurement; our ability to maintain attractive brands and our reputation, and to offer popular programming and other content; increased costs for content and other rights; competition for talent, content, audiences, subscribers, advertising and distribution; the potential for loss of carriage or other reduction in or the impact of negotiations for the distribution of our content; losses due to asset impairment charges for goodwill, intangible assets, FCC licenses and programming; risks related to our ongoing investments in new businesses, products, services and technologies, through acquisitions and other strategic initiatives; evolving business continuity, cybersecurity, privacy and data protection and similar risks; content infringement; the impact of Covid-19 and other pandemics and measures taken in response thereto; domestic and global political, economic and regulatory factors affecting our businesses generally; liabilities related to discontinued operations and former businesses; the loss of existing or inability to hire new key employees or secure creative talent; strikes and other union activity; potential conflicts of interest arising from our ownership structure with a controlling stockholder; and other factors described in our news releases and filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including but not limited to our most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and reports on Form 10-Q and Form 8-K. There may be additional risks, uncertainties and factors that we do not currently view as material or that are not necessarily known. The forward-looking statements included in this communication are made only as of the date of this communication, and we do not undertake any obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statements to reflect subsequent events or circumstances.


Paramount CFO Tells Skeptics: Streaming Rivals “Would Love to Have Our Portfolio of Content”

Naveen Chopra also touted sports as an "important ingredient" for Paramount+ in the U.S. and select other markets as he appeared at the Deutsche Bank Media, Internet and Telecom Conference.

Paramount Global CFO Naveen Chopra on Tuesday rejected the notion that the entertainment conglomerate doesn’t have enough hits and content firepower to succeed in the streaming space.

Asked about some skeptics’ take that the company does not have the necessary intellectual property (IP) in the battle for streaming subscribers, he told the Deutsche Bank Media, Internet and Telecom Conference in Palm Beach, Fla., that the company had added 9.4 million streaming subs in the fourth quarter. That made its Paramount+ the fastest-growing major streamer in the U.S. and was “first and foremost” driven by content.

Chopra then touted the company’s CBS, Nickelodeon, Showtime, Paramount Pictures and other brands, as well as such tentpole content as Yellowstone and the Halo series. He also called the Paramount studio’s lineup “one of the most enviable slates over the next few years of any studio around,” including the upcoming Top Gun: Maverick and new Transformers, Mission: Impossible, Paw Patrol and Sonic the Hedgehog films, among others.

Overall, “I think there are a lot of companies out there [that] would love to have our portfolio of content and, importantly, well-known IP,” Chopra concluded. That last part was “critical” as it avoids having to constantly launch new content propositions, he emphasized.

Asked about the importance of sports content on Paramount+ in the U.S. and beyond, Chopra called it an “important ingredient” in the U.S., especially for the acquisition of users who can then be turned on to additional programming. Those who join for sports “turn into our highest long-term value subs, especially when we get them into that second piece of content,” he noted.

Outside the U.S., Paramount+ is a broader offering that includes Showtime, he emphasized. “We do think sports has value, but we do look at it on a market-by-market basis,” the Paramount CFO added. For example, the streamer offers sports in Australia and will launch English Premier League soccer in Mexico and other markets.

Paramount executives told a recent investor day that they expect streaming losses to peak in 2023. With Wall Street increasingly focusing on the profitability outlook for Hollywood conglomerates’ streaming services, Paramount Global president and CEO Bob Bakish acknowledged earlier in March that his team will have to continue showing that it can execute the streaming game plan. “I know people are worried about investment levels, [but] look at what we are investing in,” he said. “New series, which we have a good track record on, and repatriating good product that is out there to get it back under our control.”

Asked how quickly profit margins in streaming could become similar to the traditional TV business, Chopra acknowledged that this “obviously doesn’t happen overnight,” but said it would happen within “a reasonable period of time.”

Discussing revenue and advertising revenue trends at Paramount’s TV business, Chopra said that “we have shown that we have the ability to mitigate audience declines with increases” in rates, “particularly as we see COVID issues, supply chain, Ukraine-related issues ultimately resolve themselves” over time.

Just like its peers, the conglomerate has been focusing on growing its streaming business, including subscription service Paramount+ and advertising VOD service Pluto TV. Paramount+ ended 2021 with 32.8 million subscribers, and the company is targeting to hit 100 million by 2024. Management recently told investors that it plans to bolster the nascent service with theatrical films, spinoff series and remakes and rebranded the company as Paramount Global.

The company’s addition of about 26 million streaming subscribers in 2021, mostly at Paramount+, came in better than most people had expected, Chopra argued on Tuesday. And Pluto TV has a long way to go in terms of user and revenue growth. Overall, the CFO expressed confidence in the company’s ability to build a “top-tier streaming business” with a broad-based content portfolio targeting the whole household and a broad business model combining subscription, advertising and hybrid offers.

Chopra also emphasized that the company is constantly looking at how to “program and stunt” content, for example, using an NFL game to get audiences into a scripted show. That can “move audiences from one title to another” to strengthen engagement and lower user churn, he said.  Asked if the content spending targets will allow Paramount to roll out enough local content in key regions of the world, the CFO said “absolutely.”


Paramount CFO Touts Deep IP Library as Differentiator from Competitors

At Deutsche Bank’s Media, Internet & Telecom Conference, Paramount CFO Naveen Chopra discussed the company’s apparently controversial investment into streaming. With multiple streaming services — Paramount+, Pluto TV, and Showtime — under their corporate umbrella, it is important for the company to reach as many people as possible.

“Our view is that you’ve got to address the entire household, which involves a combination of obviously scripted content, but things like sports, news, movies, kids content, unscripted,” Chopra said. “And that’s really critical in terms of both being able to drive engagement, audience growth, etc., but also being able to leverage content investments across a variety of different channels.”

It’s those investments that Chopra believes will be a major differentiator for Paramount’s streaming future, especially in relation to the biggest elephant in the streaming room, Netflix. With the amount of money being invested in content creation across the top nine streaming services expected to rise to $140.5 billion in 2022, Chopra said that Paramount’s deep library of intellectual property gives them a distinct advantage over other services that don’t have that type of history.

“Without well-known IP, you’re stuck in the mode of having to launch new shows and try to build new audiences every single time and that can honestly be a pretty expensive endeavor,” the CFO said. “Whereas our ability to take those existing audiences, that existing IP, those franchises, extend them, build on them across multiple channels. It just yields better ROI. And that’s a big part of why we think our strategy is so compelling.

Other streaming services like Disney+, HBO Max, and others also come with existing IP that they can capitalize on, but due to the nature of their business model, Netflix must either license existing content or create it from the ground up, something that gets increasingly expensive when subscriber growth — especially domestically — slows dramatically.

Chopra also touted the company’s multi-faceted content approach, including building on content from their array of traditional broadcast networks and their ability to get Paramount Studios’ movies onto Paramount+ in increasingly quick turnaround times.

“We like the concept of a 45-day window that allows us to continue to capture the value of theatrical audience, but also use movies as drivers of both acquisition and engagement on our streaming platforms,” he said.

As Paramount’s CEO Bob Bakish has talked about extensively, especially during last month's Investors Day presentation, the company’s popular linear and cable networks like CBS, Nickelodeon, Paramount Network, MTV and more, as well as their historic movie studio, gives them not only the library, but the production resources to move quickly and aggressively into the streaming space.

Not only do Bakich and Chopra think that the existing content will be important to the growth of their services, but also it allows them to build and expand franchises including “Paw Patrol,” “Sonic the Hedgehog,” “A Quiet Place,” and Taylor Sheridan’s “Yellowstone.”

“So we think from a revenue perspective, we can grow faster and bigger,” Chopra said on Tuesday. “And then when you look at it from on the cost side of the equation, there are very tangible benefits that we have and again, start with content the fact that we have this huge library of content is a great asset in the financial model. If you’re a pure-play kind of upstart streaming business without that library, you’ve got to spend billions of dollars a year to rent library content.”

Unlike Netflix, who started as a streaming service exclusively using content created by other studios before getting into the game themselves, Paramount is confident that having decades of material to build upon will allow them to gain ground in the streaming wars faster than expected.

Paramount says that they ended 2021 with 32.8 million subscribers on Paramount+ and that during Q4 were not only the fastest-growing streamer in the country but the fastest-growing brand.

“Well, the first thing I do is I pointed to the fact that we added 9.4 million subscribers in Q4 we were the fastest-growing major streaming service [and] fastest-growing brand in the US market,” Chopra said. “And all of that success is content driven. First and foremost.”


Originally published: February 15, 2022.

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