NCAA tournament cancellation drains ViacomCBS revenue

Streaming business grows as coronavirus forces consumers to stay home

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ViacomCBS Inc., for its first full quarter as a combined company, reported lower revenue, driven by weaker advertising, but the company reported growth in its streaming business as consumers stayed home.

Revenue at the media company -- a combination of Viacom Inc. and CBS Corp. that closed in December -- slumped over 6% to $6.67 billion.

Advertising revenue fell 19%, ViacomCBS said, hurt by the company’s year-earlier quarter including the Super Bowl and the NCAA basketball tournament. The NCAA cancelled its championship tournament this year because of the new coronavirus pandemic.

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ViacomCBS, however, said domestic streaming and digital-video revenue rose by over half. The company said its “streaming platforms had their best month” in April as more people stayed home. Consumers have been staying inside and working from home amid the pandemic.

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VIACVIACOMCBS INC.
$21.53
+0.79 (+3.81%)
CMCSACOMCAST CORP.
$40.18
+0.58 (+1.46%)
GOOGALPHABET INC.
$1,431.82
+2.90 (+0.20%)

The media company said profit was $516 million, or 84 cents a share. Profit declined from $1.96 billion a year earlier, or $3.20 a share. Adjusted earnings were $1.13 a share.

The company’s results a year ago include a $549 million gain on selling CBS Television City, ViacomCBS said.

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Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the company already withdrew its guidance for 2020 in March. It said there were delays in production, but also said that broadcast and cable viewership had increased.

Also Thursday, ViacomCBS announced a deal to make its Viacom cable channels available on Alphabet Inc.’s YouTube TV online TV bundle. It is the third distribution deal that ViacomCBS has announced in as many months, having signed agreements with Verizon Communications Inc. in April and Nexstar Media Group in March.