Viacom reveals global SVOD service

Bob Bakish1Viacom has unveiled Viacom Play Plex, a suite of mobile TV apps that will offer subscription access to programming from international channels including Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and MTV.

Play Plex will comprise a suite of mobile apps for Android and iOS-enabled devices, which Viacom’s distribution partners can offer to their customers.

The service is likely to be primarily a TV Everywhere product, and may also be available through mobile networks on certain tariffs. Both scenarios would see the cost of subscribing built into the existing pricing.

It is understood there may also be a direct-to-consumer option added at some point in the future, similar to Discovery Networks International’s Dplay service. This would see customers paying a monthly access subscription.

Viacom Play Plex will debut in the fourth quarter of this year in 180 international territories in which Viacom International Media Networks operates channels.

It will offer VOD access to a range of current and library content, plus a live, local linear stream of the relevant channel and games for Nick Play. All of VIMN’s major international channel brands – Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Paramount Channel, Spike and BET – will be represented.

VIMN said it is “exploring a number of different distribution options for Viacom Play Plex, with the suite of apps being offered on both a collective and standalone basis to existing pay TV partners in every territory to integrate into their TV Everywhere services where available”.

VIMN already has deals with pay TV platforms such as NOS in Portugal for the Nick-branded Play app, while collaborative launch efforts are being made in with Foxtel in Australia and OSN in the Middle East and North Africa regions.

The Nick app, currently available in five markets, has been available since 2013, but is being rebranded as Nick Play as part of the wider Viacom Play Plex service.

VIMN is also hunting new distribution partners, including mobile operators.

Each branded Play app will be localised for every country it launches in, mixing hits such as SpongeBob SquarePants and Lip Sync Battle with local productions.

“Viacom Play Plex offers us maximum flexibility in distributing our content as the way viewers consume their favorite TV shows continues to evolve,’ said VIMN president and CEO Bob Bakish.

“These apps are designed to complement our linear pay TV channels and to allow our existing distribution partners to deepen and improve the entertainment experience they offer their subscribers.”

But, Viacom Play Plex also opens up new distribution opportunities for us, particularly in the fast-growing mobile TV sector, and, ultimately, positions us to succeed in a world of more personalized entertainment services and greater consumer choice.”

Further to this, Bakish said the service would open “new distribution opportunities for us, particularly in the fast-growing mobile TV sector”.

“We believe no other international entertainment company is offering this type of innovation at this scale, serving every major demographic in every major TV market,” he said.

The news comes as major channel groups around the world weight their OTT options and the possibility of going direct-to-consumer.

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