It’s a way to distribute the company’s once mighty-with-millennial properties like Cartoon Network, Comedy Central, MTV and BET to an audience that doesn’t pay for cable and boost the audience and reach for its recent acquisitions Awesomeness and Whosay.
Launched in 2013, Pluto TV has built a catalog of titles by licensing movies and television shows from studios as well as content from YouTube and other short-form digital media distributors. The company now offers more than 100 channels from 130 content partners that it distributes to roughly 12 million monthly active users — 7.5 million who access it through connected televisions.
“Today marks an important step forward in Viacom’s evolution, as we work to move both our company and the industry forward. Pluto TV’s unique and market-leading product, combined with Viacom’s brands, content, advanced advertising capabilities and global scale, creates a great opportunity for consumers, partners and Viacom,” said Bob Bakish, Viacom president and chief executive, in a statement. “As the video marketplace continues to segment, we see an opportunity to support the ecosystem in creating products at a broad range of price points, including free. To that end, we see significant white space in the ad-supported streaming market and are excited to work with the talented Pluto TV team, and a broad range of Viacom partners, to accelerate its growth in the U.S. and all over the world.”
Pluto Tv will operate as an independent subsidiary of Viacom and its chief executive and co-founder, Tom Ryan, will continue to serve as CEO of the independent entity.
“Since our launch less than five years ago, and particularly over the past year, Pluto TV has enjoyed explosive growth and become the category leader in free streaming television,” said Pluto TV CEO and co-founder Tom Ryan. “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. Viacom is the perfect partner to help us accomplish our mission of entertaining the planet.”
The deal is also a win for Pluto TV’s venture capital investors. Since its founding, Pluto TV had raised $51.8 million from investors, including USVP, ProSiebenSat.1 Media, Scripps Networks Interactive, Sky, United Talent Agency, Luminari Capital, Chicago Ventures, Pritzker Group and others.