ViacomCBS sees increase in free, premium streaming customers

The media company now has more than 52 million monthly streamers tuning in to Pluto TV, while 42 million pay for Showtime and/or Paramount Plus.
(Image courtesy ViacomCBS; Graphic by The Desk)

ViacomCBS on Thursday reported gains in the number of free and premium streaming customers it serves across its three Internet-based television products.

As part of its quarterly earnings report, ViacomCBS says it now serves more than 52 million monthly active users who regularly tune in to content on its free, ad-supported streaming service Pluto TV in the United States and other countries where it is offered.

Domestically, its premium streaming services Paramount Plus and Showtime also saw an increase in subscribers, with the company adding more than 6.5 million paying customers to grab more than 42 million streaming accounts.

ViacomCBS did not break out numbers for Paramount Plus or Showtime, but did say that the former would soon be available in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Italy thanks to a new partnership with Comcast Corporation’s Sky Group.

“We are thrilled to expand our long-standing partnership with Sky to continue delivering ViacomCBS’ leading portfolio of premium entertainment brands to Sky customers and importantly bring Paramount Plus to new audiences in all Sky markets,” Raffaele Annecchino, the executive in charge of ViacomCBS’ international networks, said in a press release on Thursday. “This transformative distribution deal is key to accelerating our global ambitions in streaming while also supporting Sky’s strategic objectives to better serve audiences with greater flexibility in how they consume our content across all platforms.”

As part of the deal, Paramount Plus will be distributed to Sky customers via the satellite television company’s smart set-top box called Sky Q. At launch, it will include more than 10,000 hours of content from across the ViacomCBS portfolio of networks, and subscribers of the satellite TV service’s Sky Cinema package will get free access to Paramount Plus.

Streaming has become a crucial part of ViacomCBS’ business strategy going forward, so much so that executives were quick to eclipse the company’s other revenue sources when discussing the earnings report released on Thursday.

“In a quarter of strong business performance, including growth in advertising and affiliate, streaming was a standout,” Robert Bakish, the company’s chief executive, said in a statement. “We continued to accelerate our global streaming momentum and delivered phenomenal results across our flagship streaming services…[t]his growth was driven by the power of the service’s differentiated content strategy and expanding content slate. 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.”

In addition to Paramount Plus, ViacomCBS operates the CBS broadcast network, the MTV Networks portfolio of cable channels, Australian broadcast channel Network Ten and free-to-air network Channel 5 in the United Kingdom.

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