Paramount+ is emerging as a major force in US streaming

Paramount+ is emerging as a major force in US streaming

Paramount+ ended last year with 32.8 million subscribers, ViacomCBS reported on Tuesday, a sign that the media company is starting to benefit from its growing investment in streaming.

ViacomCBS, which announced it’s changing its name to Paramount in a separate announcement, broke out Paramount+’s subscriber number for the first time while reporting its results for the final quarter of 2021. The company had previously reported a total streaming number that included Paramount+, Showtime and BET+. Paramont+ added more than seven million subscribers in the final three months of 2021, its best quarter to date, while ViacomCBS now has 56 million subscribers across all of its services.

Paramount+ has a fraction of the subscribers of major services like Netflix and Disney+, but it has picked up its pace over the last year and a half and is now one of the fastest-growing streaming services in the US. The growth of Paramount+ is vital for ViacomCBS, a company built on cable TV networks that have haemorrhaged viewers over the last decade.

The company’s total sales jumped 16% in the final quarter of 2021, driven almost entirely by streaming. The company generated US$1.3-billion in sales from its streaming business, up 48% from the year before. Advertising sales and affiliate sales were flat.

ViacomCBS owns a film and TV show library that is the second-most in-demand of any major media company, according to Parrot Analytics. But it has licensed hit shows such as Yellowstone and South Park to rival services, and ViacomCBS still splits its original programming between Showtime and Paramount+.

ViacomCBS is starting to ramp up its output for streaming, and Paramount+ in particular. The company commissioned Yellowstone creator Taylor Sheridan to make a spinoff, 1883, and has paid South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone to make original movies for its streaming service.

“If ViacomCBS wants to be a leading player in streaming, they must exclusively place this highly in-demand content catalogue onto Paramount+,” Parrot Analytics wrote in a note on Tuesday.  — (c) 2022 Bloomberg LP

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