Paramount Ascends in Streaming with NFL, NCAA

    • Paramount+ gained 6.8 million subscribers in the first quarter.
    • Expenses rose more quickly for the service, leading to an overall loss.

Paramount+ is gaining a foothold in the streaming wars by leveraging major sporting events.

Paramount’s flagship direct-to-consumer service gained 6.8 million subscribers in the first quarter to reach 39.6 million – a far cry from Netflix and Disney, but a notable gain nonetheless for the network better known for its linear programming, namely CBS.

The network, which rebranded from ViacomCBS earlier this year, attributed the increase to NFL games and its most popular original content. 

“At CBS, ratings for the NFL playoffs and NCAA tournament were up double digits year-over-year,” the media conglomerate noted in its earnings report. 

  • Paramount’s TV revenue dipped 6% year-over-year to $5.65 billion.
  • However, the comparison to Q1 2021 rose to a more favorable 2% increase after removing the impact of Super Bowl LV, which the network broadcast on CBS and its streaming service last year.
  • Streaming revenue jumped 82% to $1.09 billion, but expenses rose 107%, leading to an overall direct-to-consumer loss of $456 million.

Revenue dipped 1.1% year-over-year to $7.33 billion, missing analyst estimates. However, the company’s stock was up around 1.9% on Tuesday.

Teaming Up Overseas

The company is teaming up with Comcast on a combined streaming service, SkyShowtime, in over 20 European countries. It is working with partner Network Ten on a joint bid for the Australian Football League’s entire broadcast package, beginning in 2024.

Paramount+ will launch in the U.K. and South Korea in June, and India in 2023.