Viacom has closed its $340 million acquisition of Pluto TV, which is a free, ad-supported streaming service. The deal, which surprised some observers because of its high price tag when it was announced in January, suggests Viacom is further committing to a focus on ads with its streaming plans — in contrast to rivals such as Disney and CBS.
Deadline quotes Viacom President and CEO Bob Bakish saying: “The completion of this deal marks an exciting next step in Viacom’s evolution and a powerful opportunity for us to extend our consumer reach and broaden our ability to add value across the industry as the media landscape continues to segment. Together with Pluto TV, we look forward to becoming a stronger partner to distributors, advertisers, content providers and audiences around the world.”
MediaPost notes that Tom Ryan will serve as president and CEO of Pluto, which will act as an independent subsidiary of Viacom.
“Viacom says it plans to accelerate Pluto’s growth, while the streaming service ‘will advance Viacom’s strategic priorities across multiple touchpoints,'” MediaPost reports. “Specifically, Viacom will not only use Pluto as a free OTT streaming service and new source of direct-to-consumer relationships, but as a zero-incremental cost video solution for mobile companies, OTT distributors and wired broadband distributors.”
MediaPost adds: “As more consumers cut or shave the cord, Viacom will partner with internet providers to offer Pluto TV to their Internet customers as a free value-add. That, in turn, is intended to enhance Viacom’s advanced marketing solutions business, which provides targeted ad solutions.”