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ViacomCBS Shares Gain After Super Bowl Ad Boost Lifts Sales, Earnings

Super Bowl spending boosted ad revenues for ViacomCBS, while its steaming services added 6 million new customers to take the global total to 36 million.

ViacomCBS  (VIACA) - Get ViacomCBS Inc. Class A Report, one of several media groups at the center of the multi-billion collapse of the Archegos Capital hedge fund last month, posted stronger-than-expected first quarter earnings thanks to a boost in ad spending linked to the NFL Super Bowl.

ViacomCBS said adjusted earnings for the three months ending in March came in at $1.42 per share, around 20 cents ahead of Wall Street forecasts. Group revenues, the company said, jumped 14% from last year to $7.412 billion, again topping analysts' estimates of a $7.3 billion tally.

Network revenues rose 14%, ViacomCBS said, while ad sales rose 20% to $2.681 billion amid a surge in spending linked to the Super Bowl, which was broadcast on the group's CBS network in February. ViacomCBS's Paramount+ lead gains for streaming services, with 6 million new subscribers, the company said, taking the global total to around 36 million.

“In Q1, we accelerated our expansion in streaming with the launch of Paramount+ further enhancing ViacomCBS’ ecosystem of premium, pay and free services. The strong consumer response we have seen is evident in today’s numbers – we have grown global streaming revenue 65% year-over-year and we added 6 million global streaming subscribers, driven by Paramount+, to reach 36 million streaming subscribers globally," said CEO Bob Bakish. 

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"Our early momentum in streaming is a testament to the breadth and relevance of our differentiated offerings, as well as our opportunities for growth through Paramount+, as we continue to ramp the availability of live sports, original series and blockbuster movies over the course of the year," he added. "ViacomCBS also achieved another strong quarter of results in our advertising and affiliate businesses, which continue to demonstrate the extraordinary power of our company to reach audiences and deliver for our partners globally.”  

ViacomCBS shares were marked 1% higher in early trading immediately following the earnings release to change hands at $43.65 each, a move that would nudge the stock's year-to-date gain to around 15%.