Viacom Acquires Pluto TV in a $340 Million Strategic Move

Written by Bill Toulas
Last updated July 8, 2021

Viacom is a mass media giant based in New York and the world’s ninth largest broadcaster in terms of revenue. Being a more “traditional” pay-TV company, Viacom was looking to enter the emerging and more modern market space of online streaming services where their competitors also see great potential, so they have paid $340 million in cash to acquire the free ad-supported streaming service “Pluto TV”. This move follows the 2016 acquisition of “AwesomenessTV”, a YouTube Original Programming company that grew exponentially since its conception in 2012.

Pluto TV will directly bring about 12 million subscribers to Viacom, although it will still operate as an independent subsidiary, still ruled by its existing CEO. Pluto streams over 100 ad-supported channels and many thousands of hours of on-demand content that span across genres of comedy series, cartoons, movies, sports, news, and even gaming videos. The customers of Pluto TV use set-top boxes like Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast, and other Android-based boxes to stream the offered media that stems from another 130 subsequent partnerships with media networks and content producers.

Viacom includes a couple of key strategic highlights in their partnership announcement, which can be summarized in the expansion of its presence on next-generation content distribution platforms. Viacom hopes that this acquisition will help Pluto TV solidify its leadership position in the free streaming market of the US, and on a second phase, to accelerate its global growth. Viacom has a competent international reach and has already touted a Spanish language offering through Pluto TV. Moreover, they will now get a new channel for their rich network of advertisers to pass through, reaching out to an even broader audience.

In the end, the most crucial part of this audience is the youngsters and the newer generation that doesn’t care about the pay-TV ecosystem. Traditional media companies have been having increasingly critical trouble in reaching out to this demographic category, and acquisition moves like this one is the easiest way to bring them under their brand umbrella. As we have seen recently, even the most valuable live sports content distributors in the US is finding it hard to tap to the younger “digital” crowd, so they are now compelled to partner with social media and hope for bidirectional benefits. Viacom, as well as other mass media companies, have been processing this for a long time now, and the obtaining of highly successful streaming companies that pertain to new distribution platforms are almost always the path to resolving this problem and opening up a whole host of new business opportunities.

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