Viacom’s Pluto TV grows monthly active users to 20m

Viacom’s Pluto TV has grown its monthly active users to around 20m – a growth of nearly 70% this calendar year.

In a Q4 earnings call, Viacom boss Bob Bakish said the business’s “focus on an investment” in the AVOD platform was evident, with 43 new channels launched this past quarter, including 24 Viacom-branded channels.

Elsewhere, Pluto TV’s US Hispanic-focused service, Pluto Latino, has 22 channels with more than 4,000 hours of Spanish and Portuguese programmes.

Bakish said: “Pluto has not only been a driver of our return to overall ad sales growth, it’s also been a platform to enable Viacom to widen our ad sales business and radically increase the number of clients we do business with, which is a very good thing.”

Monetisation of the platform is already “in the hundreds of millions of dollars”, according to the exec.

Most recently, Pluto TV revealed that it was adding three new channels from CBS giving users access to live local news streams from CBSN, New York and CBSN Los Angeles, as well as a leading entertainment news streaming channel ET Live.

Pluto TV co-founder and CEO Tom Ryan told TBI earlier this summer that the platform will continue to host a diverse array of content from various partners. “Viacom is a very important content partner across a variety of areas of our business including ad sales, distribution and international expansion, but by no means is Pluto TV becoming a streaming outlet for Viacom content,” says Ryan.

Asked what differentiated Pluto TV from new competitors such as NBCUniversal’s Peacock, Viacom chief financial officer Wade Davis highlighted the service’s “unique product approach” as well as its distribution strategy.

“Pluto has pursued a unique product approach – one that’s linear first. That’s a great, familiar lean-back experience. That’s a front door to VOD whereas most people have focused on a VOD-first experience,” he explained.

“Secondly, from a distribution standpoint, there are some folks like Roku who are doing really, really well with their free products, but their constraints are only being on their own O&O platform. Pluto’s differentiating itself by being really everywhere.

“Everyone is going to be on the on the big three or four platforms. But one of the things Pluto has an extraordinary lead on is that, for years, we have been working on the long tail of distribution, particularly having the Pluto service embedded in devices that sit in the living room.”

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