ViacomCBS beats second quarter estimates on streaming surge

(Reuters) – ViacomCBS Inc (VIACA.O) beat Wall Street’s expectations for quarterly revenue and profit on Thursday as coronavirus shut-ins of millions of American households boosted demand for streaming, sending shares up 7% before the bell.

Stay-at-home orders have boosted demand for streaming services in the absence of live events and theater releases with Netflix Inc (NFLX.O) and Walt Disney Co (DIS.N) reporting strong streaming subscriber additions.

ViacomCBS U.S. streaming subscribers reached 16.2 million in the second quarter, up from 13.5 million in the prior quarter. The company is preparing to launch new streaming platforms by early next year to consolidate programming across the portfolio.

Streaming and digital video revenue, which includes subscriptions to CBS All Access and Showtime, rose 25% to $489 million in the quarter, ViacomCBS said.

Advertising fell 27% across the company as marketers slashed spending and as live sports disappeared from TV screens.

Revenue from its filmed entertainment division, which includes Paramount Pictures, fell 26% to $647 million, hurt by a near complete absence of theatrical sales as cinemas shut down to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The company said the fees it collected from cable and satellite operators rose 2% to $2.19 billion in the quarter.

Revenue fell 12% to $6.28 billion in the second quarter but exceeded estimates of $6.27 billion, according to Refinitiv IBES data.

On an adjusted basis, the company earned $1.25 per share, beating analysts’ estimates of $0.93 per share, according to IBES data.

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