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ViacomCBS Edges Q2 Estimates As Advertising Recovers And Streaming Rises

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ViacomCBS edged Wall Street estimates in the second quarter, with revenue rising 8% to $6.56 billion and earnings per share coming in at 97 cents on an adjusted basis.

Analysts had expected earnings of 96 cents and revenue of $6.48 billion. (Some surveys of analyst sentiment set the bar slightly higher, making the earnings per share technically a miss.)

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Streaming revenue soared 92%, with advertising revenue more than doubling to $502 million. The company added 6.5 million subscribers in the quarter, reaching 42 million globally, and also announced a deal with Comcast’s Sky to roll out Paramount+ in the UK and Europe in 2022. The revamp and expansion of CBS All Access hit the U.S. in March and has gone to more than two dozen other global territories.

Along with streaming, advertising was a major theme in the results. Ad revenue rose 24% in the quarter in the TV Networks and Cable Networks divisions. Key to the upswing were CBS sports broadcasts, which didn’t exist in the same quarter a year ago due to Covid-19. On the cable side, the company credited “an improved advertising market.”

Licensing revenue fell 36% to $1.24 billion, with the company attributing the drop to comparisons with 2020, when South Park was licensed to HBO Max and more theatrical titles were coming through.

Paramount Pictures revenue inched up 3% to $667 million, largely due to the release of A Quiet Place Part II during the quarter.

In streaming, the company said the top drivers of sign-ups to Paramount+ included the new iCarly series, Infinite, UEFA Champions League soccer, The Challenge: All Stars and Why Women Kill. Engagement reached an all-time high in the quarter, the company said, though it did not offer any specifics.