Viacom intends to acquire Pluto TV, an ad-supported streaming service that is free to consumers, for $340 million in cash.
Once the transaction closes, Pluto TV will operate as an independent subsidiary of Viacom, according to a news release.
“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,” said Bob Bakish, Viacom President and CEO, in a statement. “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 U.S. and all over the world.”
Founded in 2013, Pluto TV streams more than 100 channels and thousands of on-demand content options, including movies, sports and news, from more than 130 partners. Bakish said late last year that Viacom would take a “multifaceted” OTT strategy, with investments in direct-to-consumer options and a producer of content to sell to other providers.
The Pluto TV acquisition would be a clear fit for that puzzle, as it could serve as a tool to draw in additional customers to its subscription offerings, Noggin and Comedy Central Now, as well as serve as a way to distribute content from Viacom Digital Studios.
Pluto TV is able to stream on platforms including Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Sony PlayStation consoles, some smart TVs and mobile apps for Android and iOS devices. It claims to have more than 12 million actives users every month, 7.5 million of which are on connected TVs.
“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,” said Pluto TV CEO and co-founder Tom Ryan in a statement. Ryan will serve as CEO of Pluto TV after the transaction is completed.