Viacom CEO Robert Bakish has talked a bit about the future of Pluto TV, which they agreed to acquire for 340 million last month, as reported by TechCrunch. The company plans to use the service to offer content from their vast library for free with ads, as well as offer paid subscriptions for premium content, which would be a first for Pluto TV.
Viacom is making it clear that Pluto TV will be their primary competitor to free ad-supported streaming services like Amazon’s IMDB Freedive and The Roku Channel. They say they’ve purposely avoided large-scale licensing of their content until now and plan to bring it to customers through the Pluto TV apps, once the acquisition closes, which is expected to happen in March. Viacom says that Pluto TV sells less than 50% of its ad inventory, so you can probably expect ads to increase along with the new content being added.
Pluto TV’s current tagline of “It’s Free TV” may be going away, or at least become less accurate, because Viacom plans to offer paid subscriptions for premium content through the app as well. Just as Roku now sells subscriptions through The Roku Channel, Viacom plans to use Pluto TV to take on services like Amazon’s Prime Video Channels by offering paid add-ons for their existing paid products, such as Noggin, Comedy Central Now, and NickHits, which are all already available as Prime Video Channels.