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Paramount grabs 67.5 million streaming subscribers

Company expects Paramount Plus to be fully profitable next year.

Company expects Paramount Plus to be fully profitable next year.

The logo of streaming service Paramount Plus. (Graphic by Bolivia Inteligente via Unsplash)
The logo of streaming service Paramount Plus. (Graphic by Bolivia Inteligente via Unsplash)

Paramount Global ended last year with around 67.5 million subscribers to its flagship streaming service Paramount Plus, the company announced on Thursday.

The data point was revealed in Paramount’s fourth quarter (Q4) and full-year earnings report, through which Paramount executives affirmed their subscribing losses peaked two years ago, and they expect Paramount Plus to be fully profitable by next year.

The 67.5 million subscribers reported on Thursday represent a net increase of 4.1 million customers. The figure doesn’t include the number of customers in the United States who purchased Paramount Plus with Showtime to stream the Super Bowl earlier this month, because the event fell outside the scope of the earnings report.

On a conference call with reporters, executives at Paramount said bundling offers like those promoted through marketplaces like Amazon Prime Video Channels and The Roku Channel along with promotional opportunities like its pact with Walmart helped juice subscriber interest during the year.

That said, executives cautioned that Paramount expects to see some churn post-Super Bowl and plans to drop some bundling agreements overseas, both of which could impact subscriber growth this year. The company will also reduce its local content production in some territories throughout the year, which could also impact subscriber churn.

“I do think sub growth in 2024 will be lower than 2023,” Paramount’s Chief Financial Officer Naveen Chopra said. “Though, importantly, I’d point out we do still expect very healthy Paramount Plus revenue growth — and, of course, revenue is the more important metric than subs.”

Related: Sign up for a free trial of Paramount Plus with Showtime

Paramount still generates the bulk of its revenue from its linear broadcast and cable networks, which include the CBS television network, MTV Networks cable channels and premium movie networks Showtime, The Movie Channel and Flix. The company’s linear revenue was $20 billion for 2023, to include $5.2 billion earned in the final quarter of the year alone. Its full-year revenue was down 2 percent on a year-over basis, and its quarterly revenue saw an 6 percent decline when compared to Q4 2022.

Chopra said the company continues to reduce its content expenses associated with its linear networks and was programming those channels “as efficiently as we can” in a way that allows it to “preserve the margins in that business.”

On the cable side, Paramount typically programs its core channels like Comedy Central, MTV and Nickelodeon with re-runs of its own intellectual property, including shows like “South Park,” “Ridiculousness” and “Spongebob Squarepants.” At CBS, Paramount took advantage of dual Hollywood strikes to show re-runs of some hit Paramount shows like “Blue Bloods” and “Yellowstone,” the latter of which was edited for network television.

This year, Paramount will lean more on that strategy, bringing an edited version of the Paramount Network show “Tulsa King” to broadcast TV for the first time. The debut of Tulsa King on CBS will coincide with the premier of the second season of the show on Paramount Plus, which will allow CBS to serve as a promotional platform for the streaming service.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is a nationally-recognized, award-winning journalist who has covered the business of media, technology, radio and television for more than 10 years. He is the publisher of The Desk and contributes to Know Techie, Digital Content Next and StreamTV Insider. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, the Walt Disney Company, McNaughton Newspapers and Tribune Broadcasting.
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