CBS All Access said it had third-best subscriber growth month ever in Q3

Despite advancements in its direct-to-consumer strategy, CBS’ consolidated revenues for the third quarter grew just 1% to $3.3 billion, up from $3.26 billion one year ago. (Sarah Ackerman/Flickr)

CBS has lofty subscriber growth goals for All Access and Showtime OTT, and the company said it recorded some positive momentum toward that end.

During the company’s earnings call Tuesday, CBS CEO Joe Ianniello said overall subscribers for CBS and Showtime grew 4% year over year. He clarified that it means that CBS has more than 60 million subscribers across MVPDs, virtual MVPDs and direct-to-consumer platforms.

Ianniello said that new All Access originals like “Why Women Kill” have helped attract new subscribers to the platform, and added that September was the third highest month for new subscribers in the 60 months since the company launched All Access.


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“When you factor all of that in, we are growing subs,” said Ianniello. “Because obviously the direct-to-consumer will be growing it but if you’re losing it in a traditional business, it’s offsetting. That’s why we thought that statistic was meaningful.”

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CBS said that revenue from its two subscription streaming services increased 39% year over year. The company did not provide a specific update on subscriber numbers for the two services but has recently said it expects the services to have 25 million subscribers combined by 2022. Earlier this year the company said the two services had a combined 8 million subscribers.

All Access will now have what Ianniello called “exclusive, live sports” for the first time, including more than 400 UEFA Champions League soccer matches. The soccer matches are part of a multi-year deal that CBS is currently finalizing.

CBS also said that starting tomorrow it will begin putting more of its content into curated channels on Pluto TV. Ianniello said there will be even more CBS content hitting the ad-supported service in the coming weeks, and he called it additive to the company’s revenues.

Despite advancements in its direct-to-consumer strategy, CBS’ consolidated revenues for the third quarter grew just 1% to $3.3 billion, up from $3.26 billion one year ago. The slow growth could be attributed to content licensing and distribution revenues up only 1% and advertising revenues decreasing 7%. Operating income for the third quarter was $501 million, down from $690 million one year ago, which CBS said was due to costs incurred during the third quarter in connection with the pending merger with Viacom.

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