Two weeks after the first appearance of Viacom that Viacom had conducted takeover calls with ad-supported streaming services, Pluto TV was acquired for $ 340 million in cash.
Pluto TV was founded in 2013 and is the leading free streaming service. The United States serves as a bundled 21st century experience, offering viewers more than 100 channels and thousands of hours of on-demand content.
By investing in AVOD, Viacom is partnering with NBCUniversal on a streaming model that maintains its traditional role in advertising. By contrast, Disney and WarnerMedia have highlighted the revenue from subscriptions in the upcoming entries as traditional media compete with Netflix and other streaming giants.
Pluto from Los Angeles has attracted investments from Scripps Networks Interactive, Sky, Third Wave Capital Partners, and Samsung Venture Investment Corp., the venture capital arm of Samsung. It draws programs from more than 130 partnerships with media networks, major film and television studios, and a wide range of digital content producers.
Pluto has collected more than 12 million active users per month, 7.5 million of whom work on connected TVs. The announcement of the transaction by Viacom said that Pluto has also entered into new distribution agreements, which will make the service available on tens of millions of additional devices in the coming months.
"Today is an important step in the development of Viacom 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 reach, provides a great opportunity for consumers, partners and Viacom, "said Viacom CEO Bob Bakish. "As the video market continues to segment, we see an opportunity to support the ecosystem in creating products at a wide range of price points, including for free. To this end, we see significant advertising space in the ad-supported streaming market and look forward to working with the talented Pluto TV team and a broad range of Viacom partners to accelerate growth in the US and around the world. "
Tom Ryan, CEO and co-founder of Pluto TV, will continue to serve as CEO of Pluto TV, which will operate as an independent subsidiary of Viacom following completion of the transaction, which is expected in the first quarter of 2019.
"Since we started less than five years ago, and most of all last year, Pluto TV has experienced explosive growth and has become the leading provider of free-streaming television," said Ryan. "Viacom's portfolio of global brand and IP brands, advanced advertising management and international reach will enable Pluto TV to grow even faster and play a leading global role in TV streaming. Viacom is the perfect partner to help us fulfill our mission to entertain the planet. "
After the investment in AVOD was the right strategy, Viacom also engaged in discussions with Tubi TV, another top AVOD streaming service. The acquisition is Bakish's largest term as CEO. Last year, the company brought Vidcon and AwesomenessTV into the group.