Paramount Global said first-quarter profit fell as the company’s investments in content and declines in its traditional business offset gains it made in streaming.
The owner of CBS, Showtime and Nickelodeon said revenue for the first quarter fell 1% to $7.32 billion, compared with $7.41 billion in the year-earlier period. Paramount was crimped by comparisons to the year-earlier quarter, which included the broadcast of Super Bowl LV, a massive TV event that typically generates outsize spikes in viewership and ad revenue. But the company also failed to generate significant increases in revenue from its mainstay lines of advertising, distribution and filmed entertainment, even as its expenses widened.
Net earnings attributable to Paramount fell to $433 million, compared with $911 million in the year-earlier period.
In a statement, Paramount Global CEO Bob Bakish put a spotlight on the company’s streaming efforts, where revenue increased 82% and subscribers to the broadband outlet Paramount+ rose by 6.8 million. “Our strategy is working and our execution is strong, as we remain focused on delivering a great experience for consumers and a compelling financial model to our shareholders,” he said. Paramount said global streaming subscribers rose to more than 62M, but noted that subscribers to services other than Paramount+ declined.
Activity in the company’s traditional operations, which generate more revenue overall than its new ones, was muted.
The company’s TV operations saw revenue fall 6%, to nearly $5.65 billion, compared with nearly $6 billion in the year-earlier period. Without including last year’s Super Bowl in the mix, Paramount said its TV revenue would have grown 2%. Faced with the one-time gains of last year’s football contest, however, ad revenue fell 13%, while revenue from affiliate fees and subscriptions rose just 1%. Paramount said declines in subscribers to its networks offset revenue from rate increases during the quarter.
Paramount’s theatrical businesses saw revenue fall 27%, to $624 million, compared with $860 million in the year-earlier period. The company cited lower revenue from licensing, which benefitted in the year-earlier period from the release of “Coming 2 America” and “Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse.” That decline offset the first-quarter performance of releases such as “Scream,” “Jackass Forever” and “The Lost City.”