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14.03.19

The AVOD Series

Pluto TV

As major media players launch and acquire services and content providers report material revenues, we profile the services driving interest in the US.

Overview

Acquired by Viacom in Jan ’19 for $340m, Pluto TV is the largest free TV streaming service in the US (2018) - attracting 12m monthly active users, half are suggested to be 16-34.

Viacom’s rationale for the purchase includes:

  • A scaled D2C offering that has a global opportunity
  • Enhanced advanced advertising solutions
  • Unlocks their extensive content library
  • Adds to their offer for distribution partners
  • Accelerates Pluto TV’s growth and leadership in AVOD.

Viacom’s CEO says Pluto TV is also the ‘cornerstone’ of their D2C strategy and will be used to upsell their targeted B2C products like Noggin and Comedy Central Now.

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Proposition

130+ partnerships with media networks, studios and digital first studios. 100+ linear channels and a VOD library of 5,000+ hours. Content providers include major distributors like CBS, Fox and Sky (although typically news related content only), as well as niche categories such as Geek + Gaming and Chilled Out.

Content is grouped into multiple genres and presented in an EPG structure.

Viacom intend to add their own programming to the mix - in recent years Viacom made the strategic decision to curtail large-scale library licensing to SVOD players, costing them financially in 2017 and 2018.

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Distribution

Multi-device strategy in the US with 7.5 million of Pluto TV’s subscribers using the service on connected TV’s where higher value ad inventory can be sold.

Pluto is now available in the UK via Sky’s Now TV service and Roku devices with further plans in Europe underway.

Key to Pluto taking market share will be partnering with distributors that offer both home and mobile internet access and will offer Pluto TV on a no-cost basis.


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Future Plans

Viacom will look to extend distribution channels to grow within the US with the injection of Viacom’s content and there are likely to be further European plans in the pipeline.

There are other services and players scaling up their activity in the AVOD space. Roku – a device distribution partner for Pluto are focused on international growth. Based on their current player/channel focus, we would expect Europe and LATAM to be next for their AVOD channel.

Coming next – We profile Tubi, the other candidate in Viacom's short form acquisition search

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