Viacom has bought free streaming television service Pluto TV for $340 million in cash to capture the online entertainment market. The current Viacom properties include Comedy Central, MTV and Nickelodeon, as well as Paramount Pictures.
Speaking about the buy-out, Bob Bakish, Chief Executive Viacom said: “Today marks an important step forward in Viacom’s evolution. As the video marketplace continues to segment, we see an opportunity to support the ecosystem in creating products at a broad range of price points, including free. Viacom is optimistic about the ad-supported streaming television market, where it plans to work with Pluto TV and a range of partners.”
Founded in 2013, Pluto TV streams more than 100 channels of ad-supported television on the Internet.
The Los Angeles-based company boasts more than 12m active monthly users, most of them using televisions connected to the Internet. Pluto streams content to screens through Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV and Sony PlayStation video game consoles.
The media sector is being shaken up by technology companies such as Amazon, Netflix and YouTube that let people stream video on-demand rather than be tethered to costly cable or satellite services.