ViacomCBS Inc on Thursday beat Wall Street quarterly revenue estimates, driven by strong streaming revenue and advertising growth following the March launch of its rebranded Paramount+ service.
The company has 36 million global streaming subscribers after adding 6 million in the first quarter. Streaming revenue rose 65% year-on-year.
“We’re clearly seeing the benefit of putting the full power of ViacomCBS behind Paramount+,” said ViacomCBS President and Chief Executive Officer Bob Bakish on an earnings call on Thursday.
Advertising revenue jumped 21% to $2.68 billion, driven by CBS’ broadcasts of Super Bowl LV and NCAA basketball tournament games.
The company said it expects “strong double-digit advertising growth” in the second quarter.
It plans to use the $2.7 billion in cash it raised in March to develop more original series and movies, especially for streaming; accelerate international launches; pursue incremental streaming sports rights, and reduce the amount of content it licenses to third-party streamers, preserving more of that content for its own streaming services.
The bulk of that investment will happen over many years, the company said Thursday. It expects streaming content spending for 2021 to more than double from 2020.
Revenue rose 14% to $7.41 billion in the quarter, beating estimates of $7.31 billion, IBES data from Refinitiv showed.
Net earnings attributable rose to $899 million, or $1.42 per share, from $501 million, or 81 cents per share, a year earlier.
Excluding items, the company posted a profit of $1.52, topping estimates of $1.22.
Shares were up 2% at $44 in early trading.
The shares had been on tear in the first quarter, hitting a record intraday peak of $101.97 on March 15, but then dropped amid a series of block trades tied to the meltdown of hedge fund Archegos Capital Management.