ViacomCBS posted a net loss of $258 million for the last quarter of the 2019, in which it completed its re-merger. The value of the company fell by 18% on the news. Annual streaming video revenue from the United States totalled $1.6 billion and the company ended the year with 11 million online video subscribers. It is aiming to reach 16 million in 2020, through an expansion of CBS All Access for audiences around the world. This will complement its free Pluto TV and premium Showtime offerings.
“In less than three months since completing our merger, we have made significant progress integrating and transforming ViacomCBS,” said the company president and chief executive, Bob Bakish. “We see incredible opportunity to realize the full power of our position as one of the largest content producers and providers in the world.”
One of the three strategic priorities is to accelerate momentum in streaming. He said he believes the market will adopt a combination of free, broad pay and premium pay.
The company broke out its streaming subscriber numbers for the first time, ending the year with 11.2 million, up from 10.4 million the previous quarter and 7.2 million at the end of 2018. That includes CBS All Access, Showtime OTT and other ViacomCBS branded services in the United States. It expects to reach 16 million in 2020. It plans to evolve CBS All Access into a ‘House of Brands’ product, bringing in Nick, MTV, BET, Comedy Central, Smithsonian and Paramount to join CBS.
Monthly active users of Pluto TV rose to 22.4 million at the end of 2019, up from 18.1 million the previous quarter and 12.8 million the previous year. It is aiming for 30 million in 2020.
Domestic streaming and digital video revenue rose to $1.6 billion in 2019, up from $1.0 billion the previous year. It expects this to grow by up to 40%.
That is out of total revenue of $27.82 billion, up 2% on the previous year, with cable networks as the largest single contributor, with revenue of $12.45 billion, ahead of largely CBS branded television entertainment at $11.92 billion.
The company makes 40% of its total revenue from advertising, 31% from affiliates, and 23% from content licensing.
Streaming and digital video revenue made up only 6% of all revenue, showing that the company is still financially very dependent on its traditional business.
The merged company reported a net loss of $258 million for the last quarter of 2019, with a profit of $3.31 billion for the year, compared to $3.46 billion the previous year.
The company observed that the quarter was a transitional one, reflecting two separate companies with separate strategies. It is now aiming to build on the synergies of the re-unified organisation.