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Paramount Global Projects Profitability for Paramount+ by 2025 Amid Streaming Growth

ByHuey Yee Ong

Mar 6, 2024

Paramount Global Projects Profitability for Paramount+ by 2025 Amid Streaming Growth

Paramount Global, a leading Hollywood conglomerate, has made significant strides in the competitive streaming landscape, reporting a notable increase in Paramount+ subscribers and projecting a brighter financial outlook for the coming years. Amidst challenges in the traditional TV sector and the evolving digital entertainment space, Paramount’s strategic adjustments and content offerings are steering the company toward a promising future.

Subscriber Growth and Financial Performance

As of the end of its fourth quarter, Paramount+ achieved a milestone with 67.5 million global subscribers, marking an increase of 4.1 million from the previous quarter. This growth is a testament to Paramount’s robust content strategy and its appeal to a diverse audience base. The company, under the leadership of CEO Bob Bakish and CFO Naveen Chopra, anticipates “significant total company earnings growth” in 2024, with Paramount+ expected to reach profitability domestically by 2025. This optimistic outlook is underpinned by increased viewer engagement, a strategic subscription price hike, and a focused reduction in programming expenditure.

The financial results for the first quarter showcased Paramount Global’s resilience and strategic foresight. Net earnings surged to $514 million from a mere $21 million in the previous year, despite a 12% decline in total revenue, which stood at $7.63 billion. This performance exceeded analyst expectations, who had predicted a more modest outcome. A noteworthy achievement was the reduction in streaming losses to $490 million, down from $575 million the year prior, signaling a potential turning point in Paramount’s direct-to-consumer segment.

MetricQ1 PerformanceYear-over-Year ChangeComments
Net Earnings$514 millionFrom $21 millionSignificant increase, showcasing financial resilience
Total Revenue$7.63 billion-12%Despite decline, performance exceeded expectations
Streaming Losses$490 millionImproved from $575 millionIndicating a potential turnaround in streaming segment
Advertising Revenue (Streaming)Growth by 14%Driven by Paramount+ and Pluto TV
Subscription Revenue (Streaming)Growth by 43%Reflecting strong subscriber additions
Traditional TV Advertising RevenueDecline by 15%Reflecting broader industry challenges
Film Studio Division Revenue$647 million-31%Impacted by decreased licensing revenue
Paramount Global Financial Overview

The Streaming and Traditional TV Landscape

Paramount’s streaming ventures, including Paramount+ and Pluto TV, saw significant revenue growth, with advertising revenue climbing by 14% and subscription revenue by an impressive 43%. However, the legacy linear TV business faced headwinds, with advertising revenue and affiliate subscription fees experiencing declines. This shift reflects broader industry trends, where traditional TV revenues are increasingly under pressure due to changing consumer habits and the rise of digital entertainment platforms.

The film studio division, renowned for blockbuster franchises like Mission Impossible and Top Gun, also reported a downturn, primarily due to decreased licensing revenue. This aspect of the business is crucial for Paramount, as it looks to balance its portfolio across various entertainment mediums.

Strategic Initiatives and Market Positioning

Paramount’s strategy in navigating these challenges involves:

  • Maximizing Content Investments:
    • Focusing on high-quality, diverse content to attract a broad audience.
    • Leveraging blockbuster franchises and original programming to drive subscriber growth.
  • Scaling Streaming Operations:
    • Enhancing the Paramount+ platform and Pluto TV to improve user experience and engagement.
    • Implementing strategic subscription pricing and packaging to increase revenue.
  • Cost Structure Transformation:
    • Reducing programming and operational expenditures to improve profitability.
    • Investing in technology and analytics for efficient content delivery and marketing.
  • Exploring Strategic Partnerships:
    • Engaging in potential mergers and acquisitions to bolster market position.
    • Forming alliances with other media entities for content distribution and bundle offerings.
  • Leveraging Sports Content:
    • Utilizing sports programming to attract and retain a diverse subscriber base.
    • Highlighting the success of sports content in driving engagement with non-sports programming on Paramount+.

Despite emerging competition from a joint venture among Disney, Warner Bros. Discovery, and Fox, Paramount is confident in its sports offering’s ability to attract and retain viewers. CEO Bakish highlighted that sports fans on Paramount+ engage heavily with non-sports content, illustrating the platform’s diverse appeal.

Challenges and Opportunities Ahead

Paramount’s journey is not without its challenges. The company faces the dual pressures of declining linear TV revenues and the need to invest heavily in marketing, subscriber acquisition, and original content production, especially as it emerges from the impacts of the Hollywood strikes. Additionally, the advertising market’s weakness, compounded by lower political advertising and the effects of the strikes, adds another layer of complexity to Paramount’s revenue generation strategies.

Moreover, the company’s stock experienced volatility following news of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway reducing its stake in Paramount. The media landscape’s ongoing speculation, including potential acquisition interest from entities like Skydance Media, RedBird Capital, and media mogul Byron Allen, underscores the fluid nature of the industry and Paramount’s pivotal role within it.

Paramount’s response to these challenges and opportunities involves a multifaceted approach:

  • Adapting to Changing Consumer Preferences:
    • Focusing on digital and streaming services to meet the demand for online content.
    • Tailoring content offerings to cater to a diverse global audience.
  • Rich Content Library:
    • Leveraging an extensive portfolio of films, series, and exclusive programming to attract subscribers.
    • Investing in new, original content to keep the library fresh and engaging.
  • Strategic Market Positioning:
    • Positioning Paramount+ and other digital platforms at the forefront of the streaming war.
    • Enhancing brand visibility and appeal through marketing and promotional activities.
  • Navigating Financial Pressures:
    • Implementing cost-cutting measures to offset declining traditional TV revenues.
    • Optimizing investment in marketing and content production for efficient spending.
  • Exploring Strategic Partnerships and Mergers:
    • Seeking alliances and acquisition opportunities to strengthen market presence.
    • Partnering with other companies for content distribution and bundling services.

As Paramount continues to evolve its business model, the emphasis on streaming, content innovation, and strategic market positioning will be critical to its success. With a clear vision for the future and a commitment to adapting to industry dynamics, Paramount Global is poised to redefine its legacy in the digital age, promising an exciting journey ahead for the company and its stakeholders.

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Featured Image courtesy of SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Huey Yee Ong

Hello, from one tech geek to another. Not your beloved TechCrunch writer, but a writer with an avid interest in the fast-paced tech scenes and all the latest tech mojo. I bring with me a unique take towards tech with a honed applied psychology perspective to make tech news digestible. In other words, I deliver tech news that is easy to read.