Paramount Global revenue disappoints on slow subscriber growth, weak ad market By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Toy figures of people are seen in front of the displayed Paramount + logo, in this illustration taken January 20, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

(Reuters) -Paramount Global Inc missed first-quarter revenue estimates on Thursday as it added fewer subscribers at its flagship streaming service and advertisers cut back on spending in a challenging economic environment.

Shares of the New York-based company, formerly known as ViacomCBS (NASDAQ:), fell nearly 13% in trading before the bell. They have gained more than 35% so far this year.

Paramount faces tough competition from established players such as Netflix (NASDAQ:) and Walt Disney (NYSE:) Co’s Disney+, despite ramping up investments in original content to attract subscribers to its streaming platform.

Paramount+, the company’s flagship streaming platform, added 4.1 million subscribers during the quarter, compared with 9.9 million in the preceding quarter.

Several factors, including higher prices, softening consumer demand across products and services, and weak markets, have forced companies to pull back on advertising spending.

Sales for its TV media segment declined 8% from a year earlier, with advertising revenue down 11%.

Revenue at the company was $7.27 billion in the first quarter ended March 31, compared with analysts’ average estimate of $7.42 billion, according to Refinitiv IBES data.

Overall, revenue in the company’s direct-to-consumer unit, which includes streaming platforms Paramount+ and PlutoTV, grew 39% in the first quarter. Revenue from its filmed entertainment business, which makes and distributes movies and TV shows, fell 6%.

Investment in original content and expansion of its streaming platform are also driving cash burn for the owner of the CBS network.

Operating loss stood at $1.23 billion during the quarter, compared with an operating income of $775 million a year earlier.

On an adjusted basis, the company earned 9 cents per share, below Wall Street’s estimate of 17 cents per share, according to Refinitiv IBES data.

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