Determined to continue growing in the competitive OTT space, Viacom has major global plans for its new service, Pluto TV.
Acquired in January of this year for 340 million dollars, the free streaming service is now a focus for the company, which will “lean into it harder and invest some incremental money” to expand on its leadership position, said Viacom CEO, Bob Bakish.
During the latest quarterly earnings call, the executive said the platform “represents an opportunity to broaden our partnerships with existing distributors”, citing its recent deal with Comcast to include it in its Xfinity Flex offer and another deal “with a large distributor”.
And on this international expansion, the Hispanic market holds a prioritary spot, with the executive announcing Viacom will launch a US Hispanic version of Pluto TV called Pluto Latino in July, including a set of specialised Spanish language offerings.
In addition, the executive also announced the service will make its way to Latin America “later this year”, a region that’s growing in importance for Viacom, as Bakish revealed it’s signed its first partnerships for Paramount+ with Brazil’s Net and Claro.
Pluto TV is a free streaming service, supported by advertising, that does not require a subscription to pay TV. It was launched in 2013 and currently has 16 million monthly active users in the US, a 31% increase in the three months since Viacom announced its acquisition.
Offering a selection of networks and on demand content, the service is aimed at younger viewers, in line with the new trends in content consumption.
In this regard, Bakish said that the platform had helped Viacom expand its reach to a “hard to reach” younger demographic, helping it achieve an audience of 80% of US 18-34 year-olds across linear, digital and social products.
The CEO said that Viacom expects its Advanced Market Solutions unit, which includes Pluto TV, to almost double its revenues in this financial year and to represent close to 20% of domestic ad revenues.
Bakish also hailed Viacom’s success in expanding distribution with skinny bundles offerings such as AT&T’ DirecTV Now packs, as well as to OTT TV providers such as Netflix and Hulu.
Overall, Viacom’s fiscal Q2 saw revenues slip by 4% at constant currency to US$2.96 billion, and adjusted operating income dropped 1% to US$637 million. The company said that strong growth in theatrical and ancillary revenues was offset by lower licensing revenues.