ViacomCBS beats revenue, profit estimates as lockdowns boost demand for streaming

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Media company ViacomCBS Inc on Thursday beat first-quarter revenue and profit estimates, as higher demand for its streaming services from people hunkered down at home more than offset a drop in advertising revenue due to the COVID-19 crisis.

The jump echoes the growth of streaming service Netflix Inc that also posted a strong net subscriber addition in the quarter.

ViacomCBS, which produces content for other streaming services in addition to distributing its own films and TV shows, has been preparing to launch a new streaming service that will build on CBS All Access.

ViacomCBS in March withdrew its forecast for the year, warning a hit from the damages caused by the virus, but reaffirmed its goal of exiting 2020 with 16 million domestic streaming subscribers.

Revenue fell 6.1% to $6.67 billion in the quarter ended March 31, but beat the average analyst estimate of $6.59billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Advertising revenue for the company fell 19% to $2.48billion, while revenue from domestic streaming and digital video jumped 51% to $471 million.

ViacomCBS said the fees it collected from cable and satellite operators rose 1.5% to $2.2 billion.

Adjusted earnings came in at $1.13 per share, beating analysts’ expectations of $0.96 per share, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

The company reported a net income of $516 million, or 84cents per share, compared with $1.96 billion.