Paramount’s Q2 Streaming Expenses Near $2.1 Billion – IndieWire

Paramount+ added 700,000 subscribers in the quarter that its top tier, now called Paramount+ with Showtime, was rebranded — and repriced. The core (there’s also BET+, Noggin, Pluto TV, and the Showtime OTT app) Paramount Global streaming service now has about 61 million subs, up from 60 million at the end of March.

FAST leader Pluto TV no longer reports monthly active users, a Paramount rep told IndieWire via email. At the end of March, the number was 80 million. Fellow streamers BET+ and Noggin are still on the sales block, and Showtime OTT is going away.

The company’s direct-to-consumer business posted expenses of $2.1 billion in Q2, even higher than the $2 billion posted in Q1. Adjusted DTC operating loss (before depreciation and amortization) was $424 million; Q1’s loss was $511 million.

In the March quarter, Paramount began recognizing huge charges related to the integration of Showtime into Paramount+. Streaming losses had long been in full swing.

Arnold Schwarzenegger in Netflix's "Arnold"

Count Paramount+ among the streamers still seeking profitability. Paramount+ technically launched as CBS All Access back in October 2014. (It was rebranded and relaunched as Paramount+ in March 2021.)

Wall Street expected Paramount Global overall to lose 8 cents per share and report $7.43 billion in revenue. The company reported a loss of 59 cents per share on $7.616 billion in revenue. With adjustments and on a GAAP basis, Paramount can (and did) say it earned 10 cents per share.

At the close of trading on Monday, Paramount Global announced it had sold publishing house Simon & Schuster to investment firm KKR for $1.62 billion. Less than one year ago, Simon & Schuster was supposed to fetch $2 billion from Penguin Random House, but the merger was blocked by the Justice Department.

The commercial-free Paramount+ plan was renamed on June 27, months ahead of schedule, and with just four days left in the quarter. The monthly cost rose $2 to $11.99; the ad-supported Paramount+ Essential option (which does not include Showtime) increased in price from $4.99 to $5.99.

Paramount Pictures had a pretty light presence at the Q2 box office. Only the premiere day of “Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves” took place in Q1; the rest was Q2. The June quarter also included the first three weeks of “Transformers: Rise of the Beasts.” Neither performed particularly well, but regardless of how they did, the prior year’s comparable quarter with “Top Gun: Maverick” was going to make for a miserable comparison.

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