Wednesday, February 24, 2021

ViacomCBS Reports Q4 and Full Year 2020 Earnings Results

ViacomCBS Reports Q4 and Full Year 2020 Earnings Results

Grew Global Streaming Subscribers to Nearly 30M and Pluto TV Global MAUs to 43M; Domestic Streaming Subscribers Rose to 19.2M, up 71% Year-Over-Year, and Pluto TV Domestic MAUs Increased to 30.1M

Accelerated Domestic Streaming & Digital Video Revenue Growth to 72% Year-Over-Year in Q4, Driven by Strong Streaming Subscription and Streaming Advertising Revenue

Increased Q4 Affiliate Revenue 13% Year-Over-Year and Advertising Revenue 4% Year-Over-Year, Driving a 3% Year-Over-Year Increase in Total Revenue

Delivered Year-Over-Year Improvements in Q4 Operating Income, Adjusted OIBDA, Operating Cash Flow From Continuing Operations and Free Cash Flow

Hosting Virtual Investor Event Today, Detailing Paramount+ – a Differentiated Streaming Offering Spanning Live Sports, Breaking News and a Mountain of Entertainment – Ahead of March 4 Launch

NEW YORK--February 24, 2021--ViacomCBS Inc. (NASDAQ: VIAC; VIACA) today reported financial results for the quarter ended December 31, 2020.

Statement from Bob Bakish, President & CEO

“We started 2020 with clear goals: unlock the power of our combination, build robust operating momentum and accelerate our streaming strategy – and we delivered. 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. At today’s streaming investor event, we look forward to showcasing our opportunity to expand our position and bring ViacomCBS content and brands to streaming audiences around the world.”



- Affiliate revenue increased 13% year-over-year, driven by strong growth in streaming subscription revenue, higher reverse compensation and retransmission fees, as well as expanded distribution.

- Advertising revenue grew 4% year-over-year, reflecting higher streaming advertising and political advertising sales, which more than offset the adverse effects of COVID-19.

- Content licensing revenue decreased 3% year-over-year, reflecting a lower volume of licensing due to COVID-related production delays.


In Q4, ViacomCBS delivered robust global streaming & digital video revenue and user growth across its premium, pay and free services.


- Global streaming & digital video revenue increased 71% year-over-year to $888M, driven by 74% growth in streaming subscription revenue and 69% streaming advertising revenue growth.
-- Domestic streaming & digital video revenue growth accelerated from 56% in Q3 to 72% in Q4, resulting in revenue of $845M.

- Global streaming subscribers rose to nearly 30M, up 56% year-over-year.
-- Domestic streaming subscribers reached 19.2M, up 71% year-over-year.
--- CBS All Access and SHOWTIME OTT delivered their best quarter ever in sign-ups.
---- CBS All Access’ momentum was driven by demand for sports content, including the NFL, UEFA and SEC, as well as original programming, including Star Trek: Discovery and The Stand, and content from ViacomCBS cable brands.
---- SHOWTIME OTT benefitted from strong demand for original programming, including the premieres of Shameless and the limited series Your Honor, as well as theatricals.

- Pluto TV grew its global monthly active users (MAUs) to 43M, up 80% year-over-year.
-- Pluto TV’s domestic MAUs increased to 30.1M, up 34% year-over-year, and more than doubled its advertising revenue in the quarter.
--- User engagement increased, with strong growth in total viewing minutes and average monthly watch time per user, including across connected TVs and mobile devices.
- Internationally, Pluto TV MAUs grew to 12.9M, including expanding in Spain and Brazil during the quarter.
- Pluto TV also closed new global distribution agreements with Samsung and Google.

* Beginning Q1 2021, streaming & digital video revenue will be presented as global streaming revenue, including global revenue from advertising on the company’s pay and free streaming services, subscription fees for its pay streaming services, and advertising and subscriptions for its other digital video products. Global subscribers include customers who access the company's domestic or international streaming services, either directly through its owned and operated apps and websites, or through third-party distributors. Streaming metrics are as of December 31, 2020.



- In Q4, CBS was the most-watched network in Daytime and Late Night and claimed the quarter’s top drama, news magazine and 4 of the top 5 comedies, as well as the top new comedy series.

- Q4 2020 revenue benefitted from strong affiliate revenue growth, which was offset by lower content licensing revenue.
-- Affiliate revenue increased 23% year-over-year, driven by growth in reverse compensation and retransmission fees, as well as robust streaming subscription revenue from CBS All Access.
-- Advertising revenue declined 1% year-over-year, reflecting the impacts from the delayed start of the fall broadcast season and the sale of CNET Media Group, which was offset by record growth in political advertising.
-- Content licensing revenue decreased 20% year-over-year due to a lower volume of licensing from COVID-related production delays.
- Adjusted OIBDA decreased 12% year-over-year mainly because of increased expenses to support the growth and expansion of CBS All Access.


- In Q4, ViacomCBS owned the most top 30 cable networks among viewers 18-49 and 9 of the top 10 original series with kids 2-11; Showtime also had 2 of the top 4 scripted shows on premium cable in the quarter.

- Q4 2020 revenue increased 11% year-over-year, driven by growth in content licensing, affiliate and advertising revenue.
-- Affiliate revenue increased 8% year-over-year, fueled by growth in streaming subscription revenue, including from SHOWTIME OTT, as well as expanded distribution and contractual rate increases, partially offset by linear subscriber declines.
-- Advertising revenue rose 8% year-over-year, reflecting growth in streaming advertising revenue from Pluto TV as well as higher pricing, which more than offset lower linear impressions.
-- Content licensing revenue increased 48% year-over-year, driven by growth from the licensing of library programming.

- Adjusted OIBDA grew 1% year-over-year as a result of the increase in revenue and savings from restructuring activities, which was mostly offset by increased expenses for programming, participations, advertising and promotions, including to support the growth of the company’s streaming services.


- Q4 2020 revenue decreased 3% year-over-year, reflecting the decline in theatrical revenue, partially offset by growth in licensing and home entertainment revenue.
-- Theatrical revenue was immaterial in the quarter as a result of the closure or reduction in capacity of movie theaters in response to COVID-19.
-- Home entertainment revenue increased 14% year-over-year, driven by higher sales of catalog and Miramax titles.
-- Licensing revenue grew 39% year-over-year due to higher licensing of catalog titles.

- Adjusted OIBDA was $18M compared to a loss of $119M in the prior year quarter as lower revenue was more than offset by lower distribution costs from fewer theatrical releases.


- For the full year, ViacomCBS generated $2.2B of operating cash flow from continuing operations and $1.9B of free cash flow†, benefiting from the timing of production spending and cost savings.
-- In Q4, as expected, the ramp up in production spend led to negative operating cash flow from continuing operations of $339 million and negative free cash flow† of $453 million.

- As of December 31, 2020, the company had $3B of cash on its balance sheet and a committed $3.5B revolving credit facility that remains undrawn.

You can read Viacom's press release featuring the company's 4th Quarter and Full Year 2020 results report in full, including tables of ViacomCBS' statements and balance sheets, here on


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, CBS All Access, Pluto TV and Simon & Schuster, among others. The company delivers the largest share of the US 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 partners on five continents.

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


This communication contains both historical and forward-looking statements. All statements that are not statements of historical fact are, or may be deemed to be, forward-looking statements within 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: changes in consumer behavior, as well as evolving technologies, distribution platforms and packaging; the impact on our advertising revenues of changes in consumers’ content viewership, deficiencies in audience measurement and advertising market conditions; our ability to maintain attractive brands and our reputation, and to offer popular programming and other content; increased costs for programming, films and other rights; competition for content, audiences, 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; the risks and costs associated with the integration of the CBS Corporation and Viacom Inc. businesses and investments in new businesses, products, services and technologies, including our streaming initiatives; evolving business continuity, cybersecurity, privacy and data protection and similar risks; content infringement; the impact of COVID-19 (and other widespread health emergencies or pandemics) and measures taken in response thereto; domestic and global political, economic and/or regulatory factors affecting our businesses generally; liabilities related to discontinued operations and former businesses; the loss of key talent and 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.

H/T: Reuters.

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