Paramount+ powers ViacomCBS to 6M streaming sub adds in Q1

ViacomCBS now has 36 million global streaming subscribers after Paramount+ helped drive 6 million additions during the first quarter of 2021.

The company attributed the sign-ups growth at Paramount+ to live sports and specials, including the Super Bowl, NCAA Tournament, UEFA Champions League and the Oprah interview with Meghan and Harry.

ViacomCBS didn’t break out what services netted its 6 million additions but it said that Showtime OTT had a record quarter for sign-ups, streams and hours watched. The company’s streaming service portfolio also includes Noggin and BET+.

Overall streaming revenue rose 65% to $816 million during the first quarter as subscription streaming revenue totaled $388 million and streaming advertising revenue totaled $428 million. The streaming advertising growth got a boost from Pluto TV, which added 6 million global month active users (MAU) to reach nearly 50 million all together.

RELATED: Pluto TV’s U.S. ad revenue will top $1B by 2022: eMarketer

ViacomCBS could soon see a further spike in streaming advertising revenue growth after it debuts its cheaper, ad-supported Paramount+ tier in early June with “broad distribution.” The new tier will be priced at $4.99 per month—the old $5.99 per month CBS All Access tier will be discontinued for new subscribers.

CEO Bob Bakish said that the new, less expensive tier will expand the total addressable market for Paramount+ and that it opens important new advertising inventory, which will be added to EyeQ, the company’s connected video advertising platform.

“We see the product actually generating higher ARPUs over time than the $9.99 [per month] product,” he said.

ViacomCBS also sees the ad-supported Paramount+ launch as an added advantage for working with distributors and meeting their different objectives. Bakish said that the $4.99/month product gives ViacomCBS more flexibility on promotions.

ViacomCBS reported consolidated revenue totaling $7.4 billion for the first quarter, up 14% year over year despite a sharp drop off in theatrical revenue. Besides streaming, the company also reported double-digit revenue growth for its advertising and licensing segments.