In a move that it says marks the next step in its evolution, Viacom is to acquire US free streaming television service Pluto TV for $340 million (€300m) in cash.
Founded in 2013, Pluto TV streams more than 100 channels and thousands of hours of on-demand content spanning television and movies, sports, news, lifestyle, comedy, cartoons, gaming and trending digital series. The ad-supported, Internet-based TV service features world-class programming sourced from over 130 partnerships with media networks, major film and television studios and a wide range of digital content producers.
Today, Pluto TV has more than 12 million monthly active users, 7.5 million of which are on connected TVs. Its audience streams billions of minutes of content each month across devices such as Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, and Sony PlayStation consoles, as well as built-in integrations on smart TVs from Samsung and Vizio, and mobile apps on Android and iOS. Pluto TV has also secured new distribution deals that will make the service available on tens of millions of additional devices in the coming months.
Viacom says the acquisition of Pluto TV will advance its key strategic priorities, including expanding its presence across next-generation distribution platforms and growing its advanced advertising business. Additionally, access to Viacom’s global reach, leading brands and vast, unencumbered library will help solidify Pluto TV as the key player in the free streaming video market in the US, and accelerate global growth.
“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 CEO. “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 US and all over the world.”
Viacom’s global footprint, portfolio of entertainment brands, deep content library and additional marketing resources will further enrich Pluto TV’s product and consumer experience and provide a clear roadmap for international expansion.
“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.”
Ryan will continue to serve as CEO of Pluto TV, which will operate as an independent subsidiary of Viacom upon closing of the transaction. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2019 and is subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approval.