ViacomCBS has beaten Wall Street analysts’ expectations for its fourth quarter results, posting diluted earnings per share of $ 1.04 and total revenue of just under $ 6.9 billion.
The consensus forecast by analysts was for earnings of $ 1.01 and revenue of $ 1.9 billion. Both measures represented modest gains from the comparable quarter in 2019, reflecting an uphill struggle through Covid-19, which rocked sports, advertising and other businesses.
The results were released just before the start of an hour-long presentation to investors and the press featuring the renowned streaming service Paramount +, which launched in 2015 as CBS All Access. Paramount + will launch next Thursday in the United States and Latin America. The Nordic countries and Australia are on the bridge later this year.
Like other traditional media companies reliant on postage and linear advertising, ViacomCBS has faced the pressure of continued cord-cutting and the migration of ad spend to digital platforms. These forces prompted Viacom, before merging with CBS in late 2019, to acquire the ad-supported streaming service Pluto TV for $ 340 million.
The company said Pluto now has 30.1 million domestic monthly active users (up from 12 million when it was acquired two years ago) and 43 million worldwide. Domestic streaming subscribers covering CBS All Access and Showtime were up 71% from the same quarter in 2019 to 19.2 million.
Investors, who initially greeted ViacomCBS with indifference after its long-awaited merger, have recently warmed up to focus on streaming. Shares of the company gained 2% today to close at $ 65.63, near a record high.