Published on January 22nd, 2019 | by Kirk Hiner2
Viacom acquires the Pluto TV free streaming service
Pluto TV—a free, ad-supported streaming TV service—is under new ownership now that Viacom has acquired it for $340 million. With the purchase, Viacom enters the streaming market with a service that already has more than 12 million monthly active users, with 7.5 million of those users on connected TVs.
The Pluto TV live TV and Movies app was originally released in February of 2014 and came to Apple TV in November 2017. With it, users can view over 100 live channels and thousands of movies from companies such as Paramount and Warner Brothers. The service also offers exclusive channels such as the Pro Wrestling Channel, Anime All Day, and Food TV.
The big difference between Pluto TV and its streaming competitors is that there are no subscriptions or fees. Pluto TV is completely free, supported with ads. And in a jab to their subscription-based competitors, they have an on-demand movie category called “Not on Netflix or Hulu.” I actually have quite a few titles I’d hope to find in there.
Available live TV channels include CBS News, MST3K & RiffTrax, Weather Network, After School Cartoons, CNET, Bloomberg TV, and Horror 24/7. So, it’s not exactly the lineup you’d find on DirecTV Now or Sling TV.
Viacom comes with networks such as MTV, Comedy Central, BET, VH1, Nickelodeon and Nick Jr., but don’t expect this content to show up on Pluto TV; current window programming will remain in the pay-TV ecosystem on its branded networks, and Pluto TV will operate as an independent subsidiary of Viacom once the deal closes.
Still, the deal grows Viacom’s advertising business gives the company a presence in a new distribution platform while helping to expand Pluto TV’s audience.
“Viacom’s portfolio of global, iconic brands and IP, advanced advertising leadership and international reach will enable Pluto TV to grow even faster and become a major force in streaming TV worldwide,” said Pluto TV CEO and co-founder Tom Ryan. “Viacom is the perfect partner to help us accomplish our mission of entertaining the planet.”