Paramount+, Showtime Combine for 42 Million Subscribers

ViacomCBS Aug. 5 reported that its branded Paramount+ and Showtime OTT subscriptions streaming video platforms completed the second quarter (ended June 30) with a combined 42 million subscribers. That was up 6.5 million subs from May. Paramount+ officially launched in March as the rebranded form of CBS All Access.

As previously speculated, the media giant disclosed it is partnering with Comcast’s Sky satellite operator in the U.K. for rollout of Paramount+ across Europe. Media reports had said ViacomCBS CEO Bob Bakish and chairman Sheri Redstone had met with Comcast chairman/CEO Brian Roberts to discuss a joint streaming partnership.

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Paramount+ is set to launch in Australia and New Zealand this month and in key European markets, including the U.K., Ireland, Italy, Germany, Switzerland and Austria in 2022.

Showtime OTT sub additions were driven by originals, including “The Chi,” “Shameless” and “City on a Hill.”

Global expansion and domestic growth helped global Pluto TV monthly average users exceed 52 million in the quarter, and revenue surged 169% year-over-year, more than doubling for the fourth quarter in a row. Domestic watch-time per user grew 45% year-over-year.

Streaming subscription revenue grew 82% year-over-year, reflecting the strong sub growth across the company’s streaming services.

Bakish said Paramount+ streaming live sports (soccer, golf and NFL) is key to sub growth, appealing to specific sports fans, while expanding CBS Sports into the streaming ecosystem.

“This growth was driven by the power of the service’s differentiated content strategy and expanding content slate,” Bakish said in a statement. “Looking ahead, we’re excited about our opportunity to build on this momentum, as we scale Paramount+’s content offerings across genres and expand our reach with global audiences.”

Paramount+, Showtime OTT Log 36 Million Combined Subscribers Globally

It’s a streaming world at ViacomCBS as the media company reported that its upstart Paramount+ SVOD service (formerly CBS All Access) and Showtime OTT subscription streaming video platforms had a combined 36 million subs worldwide through the first quarter (ended March 31). That’s up 6 million subs since the previously-reported period.

ViacomCBS did not update total domestic Paramount+ and Showtime OTT subscribers, which ended Feb. 24 with 19.6 million combined members. CBS All Access became Paramount+ on March 4.

On Paramount+, the biggest drivers of sign-ups were live sports and specials, including the Super Bowl, NCAA Basketball Tournament, UEFA Champions League Soccer, “Oprah With Meghan and Harry” and “The Grammy Awards,” as well as kids’ content, including programming from the “SpongeBob” universe and “iCarly,” and original programming, including “The Stand” and “Star Trek: Discovery.”

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Original programming, content from cable brands and Paramount movies drove almost half of Paramount+ subscriber engagement. Globally, Nickelodeon programming was a significant driver of sign-ups and
engagement on Paramount+.

Next up for Paramount+ is Australia, which launches there on Aug. 11, featuring Paramount movies, Showtime, and Paramount+ Originals, in addition to a cross-section of product from cable brands and Network 10.

“By the end of 2021, we’ll have launched subscription streaming services led by Paramount+ in 25 markets,” ViacomCBS CEO Bob Bakish said on the fiscal call.

Showtime OTT delivered its best quarter ever in sign-ups, streams and hours watched, driven by originals, including “Your Honor” and “Shameless,” as well as theatricals.

Separately, AVOD platform Pluto TV saw monthly average users increase to nearly 50 million, adding 6 million global users in the quarter. Pluto TV’s international expansion has continued, launching in France.

ViacomCBS: CBS All Access, Showtime OTT Combined U.S. Subs Top 19.2 Million

Just days before CBS All Access morphs into the Paramount+ subscription streaming service in early March, corporate parent ViacomCBS Feb. 24 said combined U.S. subscriptions to All Access and Showtime OTT reached 19.2 million at the end of the fourth quarter and fiscal year ended Dec. 31, 2020. That compares with 11 million combined subs at the end of 2019.

ViacomCBS said 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 benefited from strong demand for original programming, including the
premieres of “Shameless” and the limited series “Your Honor,” as well as theatricals.

All Access, which becomes Paramount+ on March 4, costs $5.99 monthly with ads; $9.99 without. Showtime OTT, which is not joining Paramount+, costs $9.99 monthly. Paramount+ is available for a 50% discount through March 2  if consumers buy a year-long subscription  with a special code: PARAMOUNTPLUS.

In the quarter and fiscal year, global streaming subscribers grew to nearly 30 million, with ad-supported VOD platform Pluto TV’s global monthly average users up to 43 million. Domestic streaming subs rose 71% year-over-year, and Pluto TV domestic monthly average users increased to 30.1 million.

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“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,” CEO Bob Bakish said in a statement.

ViacomCBS CEO: Monthly Pluto TV Users to Reach 40 Million Globally, 19 Million SVOD Subs by Year’s End

ViacomCBS is ending 2020 with some good news. The company expects 40 million average global monthly users of its ad-supported Pluto TV platform, and 19 million combined SVOD subscribers for CBS All Access and Showtime OTT. The updated numbers were disclosed Dec. 8 by CEO Bob Bakish on the virtual UBS Global Investor event.

“We now see domestic streaming and digital revenue, which does include some ad sales, at an annual run rate in Q4 of $3 billion dollars,” Bakish said, adding that the tally is up from the $2.8 billion projected on the previous fiscal call. “That implies over 50% growth in the [fourth] quarter.”

ViacomCBS CEO Bob Bakish

Bakish said the revenue projection underscores his positivity around streaming video as a major future for the company. ViacomCBS plans to hold an investor event in early 2021 to discuss the company’s streaming strategy, which includes further details on the rollout of the rebooted CBS All Access service as Paramount+.

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“We’ll give an update on our entire streaming ecosystem, which includes Pluto TV and Showtime OTT, and how we’re using the great assets of the company to pursue a global streaming strategy,” Bakish said.

Notably, Bakish said ViacomCBS would look to differentiate content offerings across ad-supported Pluto TV, Paramount+ and Showtime OTT, underscoring the fact the latter service would remain separate from Paramount+ in 2021. Bakish said Pluto would act as a link toward the company’s SVOD channels.

“I think it’s fair to say the world is quickly embracing free streaming, which is why Pluto TV is key to our strategy,” he said, adding that streaming video — driven by an average of more than three services in the average U.S. home — represents a global opportunity for the media company.

“It’s definitely a growing category,” Bakish said.

Indeed, Paramount+ will look to combine live sports, breaking news and a “deep roster” of exclusive originals and content franchises for “every audience,” according to Bakish.

“This is a cross-demographic product,” he said.

Bakish outlined a few original series, including limited series “The Offer,” about the making of The Godfather; new SpongeBob kids series “Camp Coral,” which drops after the debut of movie SpongeBob: Sponge on the Run on Paramount+; and a  new series from “Yellowstone” creator Taylor Sheridan.

“There’s no question in my mind that our streaming strategy is working,” Bakish said.

CBS All Access Re-Ups Amazon Prime Channels Distribution

ViacomCBS Sept. 9 disclosed that its branded subscription streaming video-on-demand service, CBS All Access, has renewed distribution through Amazon Channels. The latter is a platform for Prime members enabling access to third-party over-the-top video services for a separate or reduced fee. Amazon keeps a percentage of revenue and user intel from each service while delivering them millions subscribers.

ViacomCBS CEO Bob Bakish, speaking Sept. 9 on the Bank of America Virtual Media, Communications & Entertainment Conference, said the distribution deal with Amazon contributed to All Access and Showtime OTT generating 16 million combined subscribers through the end of the most-recent fiscal period. 

Bob Bakish

“[Amazon] continue[s] to be an excellent partner for us, and we for them,” Bakish said.

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With Disney generating incremental Disney+ subs by bundling the SVOD with Hulu and ESPN+, Bakish was asked if All Access, Showtime and Pluto TV would be bundled. The executive said the platforms would continue to be marketed separately and in select bundles.

The media giant currently offers a $9.99 monthly bundle of All Access and Showtime on Apple TV Channels — a branded platform affording iOS users access to third-party OTT video services for a separate fee. ViacomCBS has separate deals with with Comcast, Verizon and Viveo, among others.

Bakish said the agreements help maximize the value of ViacomCBS content across all platforms, and allows the company to benefit from an ecosystem that is becoming more integrated over time. The executive said ViacomCBS would explore other bundling opportunities as well as more generally increased distribution through other streaming partnerships.

“We believe this approach serves the broadest set of consumers’ needs and therefore the largest consumer base,” Bakish said. “It enables the most ubiquitous distribution, and we’ve learned overtime ubiquitous distribution is extremely powerful.”

Apple TV+ Bundling With CBS All Access, Showtime OTT

Borrowing a page from Disney’s OTT bundle featuring Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu, Apple TV+ plans to partner with CBS All Access and Showtime OTT for a discounted bundle priced at $9.99 monthly.

Bloomberg, citing sources familiar with the situation, reported the bundle could launch as early as Aug. 17 and would be the first of its kind promotion for Apple TV+, which costs $4.99, followed by Showtime and All Access at $10.99 and $9.99, respectively. All Access is available with ads for $5.99 monthly.

VIacomCBS earlier this month disclosed that All Access and Showtime OTT reached 16.2 million combined subscribers through the second quarter ended June 30. That was up 74% from 9.3 million subs during the previous-year period.

The new marketing campaign could help jumpstart Apple TV+, which has lagged behind other recent start-ups (Disney+, HBO Max and Peacock) in subscriptions and content. Apple gives a free 12-month subscription with all Apple hardware purchases.

Original content includes award-winning “The Morning Show” with Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carell, and Tom Hanks’s naval wartime drama Greyhound. Apple is also using the platform to broaden appeal for Apple TV Channels, which mimics Amazon Prime Channels offering third-party OTT services to subscribers in exchange for revenue and/or data sharing.

CBS All Access and Showtime OTT Top 16.2 Million Combined Subs

ViacomCBS — which is planning to rebrand CBS All Access into a “super service” on par with HBO Max, Peacock and Disney+ — Aug. 6 reported its SVOD services CBS All Access and Showtime OTT reached 16.2 million combined subscribers through the second quarter ended June 30.

That’s up 74% from 9.3 million subs during the previous-year period.

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The company announced All Access continued to break undisclosed records, with paid subs, streams and minutes watched reaching all-time highs in the quarter — driven by original programming, Paramount movies and children’s content from Nickelodeon. Showtime OTT also delivered its “best quarter ever” in subscriber sign-ups, streams and minutes watched, the company announced, driven by original programming, including “Homeland,” “Billions” and “The Chi.”

Separately, ViacomCBS-owned AVOD platform Pluto TV grew its domestic monthly active users 61% to 26.5 million, from 16.5 million during the previous-year period. In April, Pluto TV entered 17 Latin American markets, and in addition to its presence in Europe, this expansion brought Pluto TV’s total international monthly users to 6.5 million — or 33 million worldwide. Pluto TV increased its platform distribution through deals with Verizon, TiVo and LG.

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ViacomCBS said domestic streaming and digital video revenue in the quarter rose to $489 million, up 25% year-over-year, driven by 52% growth in streaming subscription revenue.

“Our results underscored … rapid acceleration of our streaming business, where we achieved record users and revenue in free and pay while building toward the relaunch of our diversified super service,” CEO Bob Bakish said in a statement.

Indeed, last month ViacomCBS unveiled the first major step in transforming All Access in early 2021. The company added more than 3,500 episodes from the ViacomCBS portfolio, spanning series from BET, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Smithsonian and more. The All Access library now has more than 20,000 episodes and movies. The platform will be home to a slate of new original and exclusive movies and series, including “Big Brother Live Feeds,” “The Stand,”  animated series “Star Trek: Lower Decks,” feature film The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run, and “Kamp Koral,” a new original kids’ series premiering in 2021 and the first spinoff derived from “SpongeBob SquarePants.”

The new All Access will also feature live programming, including news, tentpole events, sports, local CBS stations nationwide and CBSN, CBS News, The Super Bowl, The Grammy Awards, The Academy of Country Music Awards and The Tony Awards. It will also feature major sporting events from golf to football to basketball and UEFA club soccer competitions as the exclusive streaming home to the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League and UEFA Europa Conference League in the United States.

CEO: ViacomCBS Looking to Supersize CBS All Access as Streaming Focus Skyrockets

In just a few years ViacomCBS has gone from owning a kidvid-centric subscription streaming video service (Noggin) to operating AVOD juggernaut Pluto TV, CBS All Access and Showtime OTT, among others.

Speaking from home on the Credit Suisse Virtual Communications Confab, CEO Bob Bakish said the media giant, which owns Paramount Pictures, would launch a reboot of All Access in 2021 with 15,000 hours of additional programming — featuring 200 local CBS TV stations, ad-supported “CBSN,” “Sports HQ” and “ET Live.”

All Access will soon stream the National Women’s Soccer League, which could be the first U.S. professional team sport to return from the COVID-19 break.

“We have a good position in the older segment with the current All Access product, but this really brings a lot of young audience to the table,” Bakish said. “We view streaming as a significant growth opportunity.”

CBS All Access and Showtime OTT topped 13.5 million combined subscribers through the most-recent fiscal period (March 31) — with significant signups since during the virus pandemic.

“We view that as a clear indicator of the growth potential of these products,” Bakish said.

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Despite the coronavirus pandemic, Bakish said the company has seen “robust consumption across all our platforms,” including linear TV news stations and “record” streaming on CBSN.

Separately, the executive said PGA Tour’s return to CBS Sports the weekend of June 11-14 at the Charles Schwab Challenge in Dallas/Ft. Worth generated a 50% uptick in TV viewership from the previous-year period. Bakish said the ratings were the highest for a golf event in 15 years.

Comedy Central has also extended “The Daily Show With Trevor Noah” to one hour from the previous 30 minutes.

CBS All Access, Showtime OTT Top 13.5 Million Combined Subs as ViacomCBS Ups Streaming Plans

ViacomCBS’s foray into over-the-top video distribution continues to gain consumer traction, with standalone subscription services CBS All Access and Showtime OTT topping 13.5 million combined subscribers through March 31. That’s up 50% from the previous-year period. ViacomCBS attributed the record sign-ups to original programming, including “Star Trek: Picard” and “Homeland.”

Domestic streaming and digital video revenue — which includes streaming subscription and digital video advertising revenue — grew to $471 million, up 51% year-over-year.

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In ad-supported VOD distribution, Pluto TV’s domestic monthly active users grew to a record of more than 24 million, an increase of 55% year-over-year. In March, Pluto TV rolled out its most significant product upgrade, introducing a new interface, updated features and improved search capabilities for an enhanced user experience.

Acquired in 2019 for $340 million, Pluto TV expanded distribution in the U.S. and internationally, including with Xbox, Roku, Verizon in April and TiVo in May. In the quarter, Pluto TV also launched in 17 countries in Latin America, with more than 12,000 hours of Spanish language programming.

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With more consumers at home, ViacomCBS streaming platforms had their best month in April, with accelerated subscriber growth and consumption, reinforcing consumer demand for content. CBS All Access and Showtime OTT sign-ups, daily average streams and minutes watched all rose substantially, versus the prior month.

Live TV and original programming, such as “Star Trek: Discovery,” “The Good Fight” and “Survivor,” drove consumption records in April on CBS All Access, with total streams and minutes watched up significantly.

Showtime OTT delivered its best month ever in time watched and total streams — driven by original series such as “Penny Dreadful: City of Angels,” and movies growing 50% and 110% year-over-year, respectively.  ViacomCBS said CBS All Access and Showtime OTT are seeing strong account activation, as well as consistent paid subscription conversion rates.

“We are full speed ahead on streaming,” CEO Bob Bakish said on the May 7 fiscal call.

Indeed, All Access added more than 30,000 program episodes from Viacom networks, including Nickelodeon, BET, MTV, Comedy Central and Smithsonian Channel. Paramount will add more than 100 movies, including the “Mission: Impossible” franchise starring Tom Cruise.

Bakish said the platform would include programing from more than 200 local affiliates, in addition to any live sports CBS has rights to.  He said Viacom plans to launch a branded international SVOD service within the next 12 months.

“Audiences want entertainment on demand,” Bakish said. “This will be a compelling foundational service for some, and differentiated complement for others.”

ViacomCBS: Pluto TV Expected to Generate 30 Million Monthly Viewers by December

ViacomCBS has high hopes for ad-supported Pluto TV. Acquired in January 2019 for $340 million, the San Francisco-based service now features 80 content channels, 22 million monthly viewers and has become a cornerstone of the media giant’s digital strategy.

The company’s other two high-profile subscription streaming video-on-demand platforms — CBS All Access and Showtime OTT — have a combined 11 million subscribers. That tally is expected to reach 16 million by the end of the year, according to CEO Bob Bakish.

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The sub disclosure is interesting since previous acting CEO Joe Ianniello stated late last year that both services already had reached 16 million subscribers. All Access and Showtime actually ended 2019 with 10 million subs, up from 8 million in 2018.

“The [streaming] growth we’ve achieved so far is overwhelmingly in the U.S., but we’re making early strides to expand internationally,” Bakish said on the Feb. 20 fiscal call.

Pluto TV is available in the U.K., Germany, Austria and Switzerland, with roll out planned in Latin America next month. CBS All Access is available in Canada and Australia and Paramount Plus and Noggin streaming platforms are also available in territories outside the U.S.

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