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Viacom acquires Pluto TV streaming service for $340 million

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Aims to attract a younger audience and monetize old content

Image: Pluto TV

Viacom has acquired Pluto TV, the free ad-supported streaming service, for $340 million in cash. The service, which has around 12 million monthly active users, will operate as an independent subsidiary within the company, and will retain its existing CEO. Pluto TV currently offers around 100 ad-supported channels and a library of on-demand content, both of which can be viewed for free without a subscription.

For Viacom, the acquisition of Pluto TV is all about getting direct access to millions of consumers, many of whom will be younger than a typical pay-TV subscriber. As well as earning money from its existing back-catalogue through serving ads, Viacom is also hoping that Pluto TV will serve as a new way to promote and market its paid subscription products, which include Noggin and Comedy Central Now.

Pluto TV is currently available for free through apps on iOS and Android, on smart TV platforms from Samsung and Vizio, and also in VR with Oculus TV. Expect it to be available much more broadly after this acquisition, with Viacom teasing Spanish-language content in the near future. Let’s just hope it goes better than Viacom’s acquisition of AwesomenessTV, which saw almost 100 layoffs less than a month later.