ViacomCBS Chief Forecasts Ad Revenue Improvement Later This Year

Bob Bakish
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ViacomCBS CEO Bob Bakish

Bob Bakish discussed his streaming TV strategy at an investors conference on Wednesday.

ViacomCBS CEO Bob Bakish on Wednesday said his Hollywood studio was faring well as it navigated the Coronavirus pandemic.

"We're successfully managing through, executing our strategy, rapidly integrating the company and harvesting synergies, producing operating momentum on multiple levels and delivering solid financial performance," Bakish said while speaking at the Bank of America Securities 2020 Media, Communications and Entertainment Conference during a session that was webcast.

"While we do very carefully pay attention to the pandemic and the state of it across all the different areas of the world, we're really continuing to execute our strategy and are very pleased with our progress," Bakish added.

The ViacomCBS head also touted his streaming TV strategy, and discussed changes to CBS All Access, including 15,000 hours of new Viacom and CBS programming and sports content. "I'm super excited about CBS All Access and its journey to becoming a super service," he told investors as the streaming platform moves towards a planned relaunch in 2021.

Under Bakish, the newly-combined ViacomCBS has focused on a digital upside from its six-year-old CBS All Access, which launched years ahead of Disney+ or HBO Max. "It's going to have wide demographic appeal — kids, young adults, millennials and older adults," he said of the streaming platform post-relaunch.

The increasing investment in CBS All Access comes as rivals like Walt Disney, HBO and Comcast continue to roll out direct-to-consumer streaming services in the U.S. and internationally to target cord-cutters in a fast-changing media landscape. Bakish also told the investors conference that CBS All Access had renewed its carriage deal with Amazon Prime Video.

"They continue to be an excellent partner for us," he said of the new deal with Amazon. Also Tuesday, Bakish was asked about the TV advertising climate amid the pandemic.

"Big picture, Q2 was clearly the bottom in terms of the year and ad revenue. And we continue to expect to see meaningful sequential improvement in Q3 and Q4," he reported. And when asked about how the recent death of Sumner Redstone at age 97 years of age might impact the corporate growth strategy at ViacomCBS, Bakish offered fulsome praise for the late media mogul.

"But, as it relates to M&A and assets sales, the fact is nothing changes as a result of his passing," he added.