Overall for the quarter 31 March 2021 the company posted total revenues of $7.412 billion, up 14% on an annual basis. Advertising contributed the largest amounts of revenues in the quarter, rising 21% compared with Q1 2020 to $2.681 billion. Non-streaming advertising revenue was driven by CBS’ broadcasts of Super Bowl LV and NCAA Tournament games, which were partially offset by lower linear impressions. Affiliate revenue, which excludes streaming revenue, increased 5% year-over-year, reflecting higher reverse compensation and retransmission fees, as well as expanded distribution, partially offset by a decline in cable subscribers.
Streaming was in Q1 by far the biggest growth business line. Total streaming revenue rose 65% year-on-year to amount to $816 million. Streaming advertising revenue grew 62% on an annual basis to $428 million driven by advertising on the Pluto TV AVOD service, Paramount+ and other digital video platforms. Streaming subscription revenue grew 69% compared with Q1 2020 to 388 million, reflecting 63% growth in global streaming subscribers.
Subscriber additions in the quarter were led by Paramount+ where the largest generators of sign-ups were live sports and specials, including the Super Bowl, NCAA Tournament, UEFA Champions League, Oprah with Meghan and Harry and The Grammy Awards, as well as kids’ content, including programming from the SpongeBob universe and iCarly, and original programming, including The Stand and Star Trek: Discovery.
Original programming, content from cable brands and Paramount movies drove almost half of Paramount+ subscriber engagement. Globally, Nickelodeon programming was a significant driver of sign-ups and engagement on Paramount+. SHOWTIME OTT delivered its best quarter ever in sign-ups, streams and hours watched, driven by originals, including Your Honor and Shameless, as well as theatricals. Global Pluto TV MAUs rose to nearly 50M, adding 6M global monthly active users (MAUs) in the quarter.
Commenting on the company’s first quarter, ViacomCBS president and CEO Bob Bakish said: “Our early momentum in streaming is a testament to the breadth and relevance of our differentiated offerings, as well as our opportunities for growth through Paramount+, as we continue to ramp the availability of live sports, original series and blockbuster movies over the course of the year. ViacomCBS also achieved another strong quarter of results in our advertising and affiliate businesses, which continue to demonstrate the extraordinary power of our company to reach audiences and deliver for our partners globally.” Rapid TV News