ViacomCBS’ subscription-streaming offerings ended 2019 with 11 million subscribers in total, a 50% gain over 2018. CBS Corp. previously forecast the two streaming services would reach 25 million subscribers by 2022. Bakish said the fourth quarter marked a record period of signups for CBS All Access, some of which was surely driven by anticipation for the Jan. 23 premiere of “Star Trek: Picard.”
In the first quarterly earnings report since Viacom and CBS Corp. completed their merger in December, the company said it would offer more detail on its streaming businesses on a regular basis. Total domestic revenue from the streaming platforms, which include the ad-supported Pluto TV service, reached $1.6 billion in 2019 (up 60% from the year prior).
As expected, ViacomCBS said it will broaden the scope of CBS All Access under a strategy it dubbed “House of Brands,” to add as many as 30,000 episodes of on-demand library programming from Nickelodeon, MTV, BET, Comedy Central and Smithsonian Channel and 1,000 titles from the Paramount Pictures library.
The expansion for CBS All Access, currently priced at $5.99 per month, will be “compatible” with the “evolving distribution landscape,” the media conglomerate said — meaning that ViacomCBS aims to cut more streaming distribution deals for the two services with MVPDs along the lines of the pact the company set with Comcast in January.
Bakish told Wall Street analysts on a conference call that he expects revenue from streaming to grow 35%-40% with “relatively modest incremental operating expenses.”
Pluto TV, which Viacom acquired early last year, had 22.4 million monthly active users in the fourth quarter of 2019, up 75% for the year. Bakish said the company expects that number to grow to 30 million monthly active users by year’s end.
(Pictured: CBS All Access drama “Star Trek: Picard”)