Things are looking up for ViacomCBS, thanks to its burgeoning streaming business.
With a strong Q4 performance from Paramount+ (which added 7.3 million new global subscribers this quarter, bringing it up to 32.8 million in total), the media company has reported annual revenue growth of 84% for its direct-to-consumer (DTC) business in 2021. The overall segment, which includes OTT service Showtime, added 9.4 million streaming subscribers in 2021 to finish the year at more than 56 million all in.
The success of the Paramount brand in streaming was a major factor in the company’s decision to rebrand as Paramount Global, said president and CEO Bob Bakish during yesterday’s investors presentation. And Paramount is significantly upping its next targets for streaming subscribers (from 75 million to 100 million by end of 2024) and DTC revenue (from US$6 billion to US$9 billion for 2024).
The company’s AVOD business is also thriving, with Pluto TV adding 10 million active monthly users to reach a total of more than 64 million, as well as increasing its revenue by 45% year-over-year.
Looking at kids and family shows and movies, Paramount is doubling down on this content genre as it currently ranks as one of the strongest on Paramount+ in terms of both engagement and subscriber acquisitions, said Nickelodeon and Paramount Pictures president Brian Robbins during the investors presentation. This push will kick off with the expansion of six of the biggest kids franchises on Paramount+.
A new CG-animated Dora the Explorer preschool series with modernized storytelling has been greenlit for production at Nickelodeon Animation and will premiere next year. And building on a previous announcement, Nick’s first-ever live-action Dora series will now target an older tween demo instead of six to 11s. The change was made to better align the series with Paramount Pictures’ 2019 theatrical release Dora and the Lost City of Gold, which featured a teenage Dora.
A new 26-episode CG-animated Transformers series from Nickelodeon and Hasbro’s eOne has also been ordered. Action-comedy Transformers Earth Spark (pictured) will bow globally this fall, introducing fans to a new generation of robots. And a first-ever live-action Sonic the Hedgehog series has been greenlit as well.
As for movies, a trio of new SpongeBob films based on the hit show’s original characters will head exclusively to Paramount+, with the first premiering in 2023. And Nick Animation is developing a fourth SpongeBob movie for theatrical release.
Nick Animation is also working on several new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles features exclusively for Paramount+, with each focused on a different popular villain from the franchise.
Rounding out the long-form slate, Blue’s Big City Adventure is a new animation/live-action hybrid feature in the works. Based on the series Blue’s Clues & You, it will bow later this year. And a third Sonic movie is also in development