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ViacomCBS is a powerful contender in the streaming world, according to MIDiA – revenue diversification is key

Since channel owner ViacomCBS entered the streaming world, it has had to compete with established SVOD giants like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+; but Tim Mulligan at MIDiA Research strongly believes that it is a powerful contender in the battle for D2C sustainability. With its global quarterly streaming revenues surpassing $1B in Q3 2021, while achieving 79% year-on-year growth in its streaming subscription revenues and 48% year-on-year rise in streaming advertising revenues, ViacomCBS might be one to watch.

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With global and studio SVODs rolling out rapidly across new territories, as well as dedicating extraordinary budgets towards content production and acquisition, the D2C streaming competition is fierce. In a market populated with established and insurgent SVODs, traditional channel owners extending their own streaming services, and a panoply of local players, the question is: which services will survive? In his recent analysis, Tim Mulligan at MIDiA Research – an entertainment intelligence and research company – placed his chips on ViacomCBS’ prospects for achieving long-term sustainability with its streaming services.

The company’s recent streaming related financial results have been impressive. In Q3 2021, ViacomCBS surpassed $1B in streaming revenues for the first time. The company has approximately 47 million global streaming subscribers. It garnered 4.3 million additional subscribers in the quarter, and achieved a year-on-year growth of streaming subscription revenues of 79%. Additionally, ViacomCBS has experienced an explosion of streaming advertising revenues driven by Pluto TV and Paramount+. Its advertising revenues from streaming have risen 48% year-on-year, with its ad-supported service, Pluto TV, experiencing a 99% year-on-year growth in revenues, helped by 54 million monthly active users (MAUs).

According to Mulligan, ViacomCBS’ diversification of its streaming revenue is key to its growth and sustainability, particularly as D2C streaming moves inexorably towards consolidation. He notes: “While the sometimes complementary and sometimes competing demands of SVOD and AVOD upon streaming audiences are currently in a state of consumer evolution, the undeniable blend of ad-supported and ad-free subscription services currently give ViacomCBS a D2C competitive edge.”

He also highlights the importance of the initial $15.4B merger between Viacom and CBS for “bulking up on content IP, content production, and content distribution in order to compete with the big players in D2C and SVOD”. While the merger came at a fraction of the cost of Disney’s $73.9B acquisition of Twenty First Century Fox’s non-sports and news media assets, it performed a similar function for the company – providing its streaming services with a more expansive and diverse catalogue of content. This, Mulligan believes, is vital to compete in the streaming landscape.


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