The company will ramp up investment in pure streaming content to $5 billion in 2024 from $1 billion last year and that could accelerate if its services exceed subscriber growth targets, said CFO Naveen Chopra towards the close an all-hands-on-deck presentation. That’s part of total company content spend which was about $15 billion last year. He declined to break streaming but said the mix will evolve.
The goal is for ViacomCBS to grow total streaming revenue to north of $7 billion by the end of 2024 through a combination of advertising and subscription revenue. That will come as Pluto hits an anticipated 100-120 million global monthly active users that year – up from 43 million in 2020.
In the U.S., Paramount+ will launch with a group of sponsors including General Motors, Expedia and Procter & Gamble.
As Wall Street analysts peppered Chopra and CEO Bob Bakish with questions about Paramount+ pricing, growth and strategy at the end of the day, the duo highlighted a few key talking points:
-The decision to bundle Paramount+ with Showtime in international markets but keep them separate in the U.S. was very deliberate. “At the moment, we like the split play. In the U.S. it will allow us to generate larger overall revenue and maintain real positioning power against the competitive landscape,” Bakish said. Showtime will be home to edgier fare like Yellowjackets – which he called “classic Showtime – edgier, riskier, a little more visually jarring, aka less mass market.” Halo, on the other hand, heads to Paramount+.
-ViacomCBS has gotten flack for licensing out some of its flagship content, from Yellowstone to South Park and iCarly, to third parties. That will happen less, Bakish said, but stop. “That is a change … but does not mean we are existing the business,” which provides cash and a platform. As the new version of iCarly moves ahead for Paramount+, “We do have prior seasons on a large streamer [Netflix] and that hopefully helps with franchise development.”
-While the field is crowded, the number of streamers per household has been ticking up — from three to four last year — and trending to five. Some alf of U.S. homes have at least three services, Bakish said. Paramount has the studio, the library, the distribution and the local resources and relationships to be competitive, he added.
Paramount+ will feature a catalog of more than 30,000 episodes, 2,500 movie titles and over 1,000 live sporting events, plus around-the-clock news coverage. It will debut in Latin America and Canada also on March 4, in the Nordics on March 25 and in Australia later this year.
Dade Hayes contributed to this report