TiVo Prepping Ad-Based VOD Service

Digital video recording pioneer TiVo is looking to join the “+” video bandwagon.

The company is quietly assembling an ad-supported video-on-demand service to compete against platforms such as The Roku Channel, Pluto TV, Philo TV, Shout! Factory TV, Tubi, Crackle+ and  IMDb TV, among others.

In a post on the TiVo community blog, Ted Malone, VP of consumer products and services, said the company has secured third-party content agreements for the service.

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“Our soon to be launched TiVo+ video service will include dozens of channels of free entertainment,” Malone wrote. “We have assembled an amazing set of partners as part of this service and will be evolving it in the coming months with many more channels, on-demand movies and shows and other specialty content coming as well.”

With Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu dominating the subscription VOD market as pioneers in the space, ad-supported VOD has emerged as a free alternative to consumers featuring largely catalog content.

With studios and other content holders eager to mine a new revenue stream, AVOD has gone mainstream beyond early pioneers Shout! Factory and Sony’s Crackle.

TiVo last week announced it would begin rolling ads playing ahead of consumers’ recorded TV content.

Malone, in his post, reiterated that users will be able to skip the ads, which are “served dynamically” when playback starts. Ads do not appear after a user pauses and resumed playback of content.

“As part of our commitment to improve the experience, we are measuring each step in the process and will be continually optimizing the ads to reduce latency and improve performance,” he wrote.

 

Viacom Expands Pluto TV Access to Android Devices in Europe

Viacom has expanded access to its ad-supported streaming video service, Pluto TV, on Android devices in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

Pluto TV will be available via its app on Google Play and connected televisions.

Acquired earlier this year for $340 million, Pluto TV represents Viacom’s most-ambitious attempt to expand brand awareness and exposure in the over-the-top video ecosystem worldwide.

Viacom brands include Paramount Pictures, BET, MTV, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon.

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With Netflix and Amazon Prime Video dominating the SVOD market, Viacom contends free ad-supported streaming video represents a competitive alternative.

Pluto TV users in Germany, Austria and Switzerland have access to more than 30 thematically-curated channels, including Pluto TV Movies, KultKrimi and recently-launched Comedy Central Pluto TV and Comedy Central — Made in Germany.

Pluto TV in the U.K. features more than 60 channels, including Pluto TV Movies, Pluto TV Indies, Pluto TV Inside and Pluto TV Crime.

Pluto TV launched earlier this month on Apple TV and iOS, and is now available on all major mobile devices and TVs.

Olivier Jollet, managing director Europe, Pluto TV, said that as today’s media consumption diversifies, premium video content isn’t limited to the TV.

“With the launch on Android tablets and mobile devices, Pluto TV is available right in our users’ pocket … on the couch, on their daily commute or at their holiday destination.”

Viacom’s $9.99 BET+ Streaming Service Launches

Viacom Sept. 19 launched just its third branded domestic subscription streaming video service BET+, priced at $9.99 per month.

The SVOD service complements BET’s linear network, which launched in 1980 by Robert L. Johnson. Additional access points include BET.com and the BET Now app for TV Everywhere users.

In addition, BET’s recently launched channel on Pluto TV will continue to feature classic films and box office hits from the best of black Hollywood.

The service follows previous launches of preschool-based Noggin and Comedy Central Now. Viacom also owns and operates ad-supported Pluto TV.

Ironically, BET+ will compete directly against AMC Networks’ Urban Movie Channel (UMC), the SVOD created in 2018 for African American and urban audiences — by Robert L. Johnson’s RLJ Entertainment.

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BET+ is also available on the App Store for iPhone and iPad, Android devices, Android TV devices, Amazon Fire TV and Prime Video Channels.

Users can also subscribe directly through Apple TV channels and watch in the Apple TV app, on demand and ad-free, across their devices for online and offline viewing.

The joint venture by BET Networks and Tyler Perry Studios launches with more than 1,000 hours of ad-free premium content, including exclusive new original programming and a broad array of top African-American-focused dramas, sitcoms, films, and specials from BET and sister networks within the Viacom portfolio.

Additionally, BET+ will offer an exclusive collection of Tyler Perry films, television, and stage plays. The service will also provide a host of content from leading African American creators, including Tracy Oliver, Will Packer, along with fresh new voices, on both sides of the camera. New titles will be added to the service regularly.

Initial content includes all nine episodes of BET+ original series, “First Wives Club,from Girls Trip screenwriter Tracy Oliver, and starring Ryan Michelle Bathe, Michelle Buteau and Jill Scott.

New weekly original series,Bigger— a 10-episode comedic series from hitmaker Will Packer (“Ride Along” and “Think Like a Man.”) — gives fans a taste of what’s to come by making the first three episodes of the series available now.

The remaining episodes of will be released every week beginning Sept. 26. In addition to its new original content, BET+ is also now streaming the comedy series, Martin”.

In the coming months, BET+ will stream Tyler Perry’s theatrical films, including the Madeafranchise; new original series; and a selection of Perry’s stage plays —Meet the Browns,” “Daddy’s Little Girls,” “Family That Preys,” and “I Can Do Bad All By Myself,” among others.

BET+ will stream a lineup of African American TV, movie and musical content including BET’s library series, films, documentaries, and specials such as “The Bobby Brown Story,” “The New Edition Story,” “Real Husbands of Hollywood,” “The Quad,” “Being Mary Jane,” “Love & Happiness: An Obama Celebration, ” “College Hill,” “Comic View,” “Hell Date,” “Keyshia Cole: All In,” “Nellyville” “Reed Between The Lines,” “Ali: People’s Champ,” “Katrina: 10 Years Later,” “Killer Curves,” “BET Awards,” “Hip Hop Awards,” “Soul Train Awards,” “Black Girls Rock,” “Boomerang,” “Harlem Nights,” “Coach Carter,” “Losing Isaiah,” and “Tina Turner Live In Holland,” among others.

Viacom library TV shows include VH1’s “Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta,” “Basketball Wives,” “T.I. & Tiny: The Family Hustle,” Comedy Central’s “Why? With Hannibal Buress”, MTV’s “Todrick,” TV Land’s “Soul Man,” Nick @ Night’s “Instant Mom,” and more.

In the coming weeks, BET+ will feature stand-up comedy specials from D.L. Hughley, Eddie Griffin, Nick Cannon, Sasheer Zamata (Saturday Night Live), Lil Rel (Get Out), Gina Yashere (The Daily Show), and Sinbad.

 

Pluto TV Expands to Apple Devices in Europe

Viacom-owned ad-supported VOD service Pluto TV is expanding to Apple devices in Europe.

The Pluto TV app, which includes access to more than 30 channels featuring movies, MTV, and TV sitcoms, is now available in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

Viacom acquired San Francisco-based Pluto earlier this year for $340 million in cash.

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“Our goal is to entertain the planet and reach audiences where they are, be it at home on the TV screen or on the go on their mobile device”, Olivier Jollet, managing director Europe at Pluto TV, said in a statement. “Launching on Apple TV and Apple mobile devices in German speaking markets and the U.K. is the perfect way to do so, since we are now additionally providing our lean-back experience to millions of Apple users.”

Pluto TV earlier this year said it had surpassed 18 million monthly users.

Amazon Reportedly Seeking Original Content for IMDb TV

A day after bowing mobile apps for its ad-supported video-on-demand service, IMDb TV, Amazon is reportedly in the hunt for original programming earmarked for the platform.

The platform, which is competing against The Roku Channel and Viacom-owned Pluto TV, has begun offering upfront license fees for content instead of previous revenue-sharing agreements. The move is seen as Amazon’s willingness to pay for content, and not just access.

The service made a play for Vice Media’s canceled “Vice Media News” on HBO, according to The Wall Street Journal.

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IMDb TV has also begun exploring linear feeds focusing on specific genres such as crime and lifestyle, celebrity, action and dramas.

The push for greater AVOD presence comes as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu face a slew of SVOD competitors, including pending Disney+, Apple TV +, HBO Max from WarnerMedia, a rebooted AT&T Now online TV service and a branded service from Comcast.

“The rapid growth of free, ad-supported video streaming services has taken the industry by surprise, given that there is already so much out there,” Alan Wolk, co-founder of media consulting firm TVRev, told The Journal. “I suspect people watch them as lean-back or background TV, often as something to have on as they’re doing something else.”

Indeed, San Francisco-based Pluto TV, which Viacom acquired this year for $340 million in cash, earlier this month unveiled a new slate of genre and “pop-up” channels rolling out with content licensed from Viacom’s IP library.

The new channels include a lineup of 150+ live, linear, curated channels and thousands of on-demand movies from studios, networks, publishers and digital media companies.

 

Pluto TV Ups Viacom Programming Slate

Viacom-owned ad-supported online TV streaming service Pluto TV Aug. 6 unveiled a new slate of genre and “pop-up” channels rolling out throughout the month with content licensed from Viacom’s IP library.

Viacom, which owns and operates Paramount Pictures, acquired Los Angeles-based Pluto TV earlier this year for $340 million.

This marks the latest installment of Viacom channels for Pluto TV this year, featuring original programming from BET, CMT, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Spike and TV Land separate from the pay-TV ecosystem.

The new channels include a lineup of 150+ live, linear, curated channels and thousands of on-demand movies from studios, networks, publishers and digital media companies.

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Genre channels feature differentiated programming from Viacom’s brands that include music videos, comedy, drama, and reality. Pop-Up channels are themed around high-profile, live entertainment events showcasing programming from past years and previews of what’s to come.

Streaming channels include “MTV VMA,” “CMT Cheerleaders,” “Comedy Central Roast,” “TV Land Sitcoms,” “TV Land Drama,” “MTV Wild ‘N Out,” “MTV Ridiculousness,” “MTV The Challenge,” “MTV Cribs” and “Are You the One?”

“With this new slate of Viacom channels, Pluto TV continues to deliver on the promise of extending iconic Viacom brands and content to a growing streaming audience,” Tom Ryan, CEO and co-founder of Pluto TV, said in a statement. “We saw an incredible response to the Viacom channels we launched earlier this year and are excited to be able to expand the offering with even more programming and events including the revival of music videos on streaming television with the launch of the first three of many MTV-branded music video channels.”

 

Pluto TV Launches Spanish-Language Platform

Pluto TV, Viacom’s ad-supported online TV service, July 1 announced the launch of Pluto TV Latino, a new platform featuring a suite of Spanish and Portuguese-language channels.

Pluto TV Latino represents the first offering of its kind to be introduced on a major ad-supported OTT platform.

The platform features 11 curated Spanish and Portuguese-language channels targeting U.S. Hispanic audiences. More than 2,000 hours of content includes movies, comedy, music, true crime, reality, sports and a selection of action and romance-packed telenovelas.

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The channels include three movie-themed channels showcasing blockbuster and native Spanish-language films, and all-new genre-specific channels featuring library collections, music specials, comedies, crime series, telenovelas and more from MTV, Comedy Central, Telemundo, Combate World and Lucha Libre.

Additional channels are expected to launch this fall featuring genres such as food, travel, competition, kids and single-series channels featuring  Spanish-speaking and dubbed versions.

“We have always envisioned Pluto TV as a destination with global appeal, where diverse audiences can find and stream the entertainment they love, for free,” Tom Ryan, CEO/co-founder, Pluto TV, said in a statement.

The introduction Pluto TV Latino is a multi-faceted initiative designed to offer diversified, ad-supported, streaming programming and entertainment with global appeal, according to Ryan.

Spanish-themed channels include Pluto TV Cine Estelar, Pluto TV Películas, Pluto TV Cine Latino, Pluto TV Investiga, Pluto TV Novelas, Telemundo Telenovelas Clásicas, MTV Latino, Comedy Central Latino and Pluto TV Brasil.

“Pluto TV Latino was designed to bring premium streaming programming to an underserved OTT audience with cross-generational appeal,” Ryan said. “To be the first ad-supported streaming platform to offer an entire category dedicated to U.S. Hispanic audiences is something we are incredibly proud of and furthers our mission to entertain the planet.”

Viacom’s Pluto TV Inks Deal with U.K.’s Channel 5

When Viacom acquired ad-supported streaming service Pluto TV for $340 million earlier this year, the corporate parent to Paramount Pictures, Comedy Central, BET, MTV and Nickelodeon, had scant over-the-top video distribution.

Now, thanks to aggressive dealmaking, Pluto TV is expanding Viacom’s digital content reach globally.

The Los Angeles-based platform signed a distribution deal with Channel 5, the TV broadcaster in the United Kingdom owned by Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN).

Specifically, three branded channels — Pluto TV Drama, Pluto TV Food and Pluto TV Movies – are headed to Channel 5’s “My5” OTT platform — the latter distributed through Apple TV, YouView, Freeview and related devices.

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“Collaborating with a well-established VOD platform like My5 allows us to pursue our ongoing goal to further enhance Pluto TV’s visibility in the U.K.,”  Olivier Jollet, Pluto’s managing director in Europe, said in a statement. “The three curated Pluto TV channels not only add to My5’s existing line-up, but also enable the My5 audience to experience a small portion of Pluto TV’s diverse programming.”

Pluto has expanded distribution (and Viacom content) through recent deals involving Comcast Cable’s X1 platform, Cox Contour, CNN, Cinedigm and BBC Studios.

“This is a global opportunity,” Viacom CEO Bob Bakish said earlier this year. “It’s going to accelerate our strategy on multiple dimensions. We see a very material opportunity there.”

Indeed, Oli Thomas, VP of digital at VIMN in the U.K., Northern and Eastern Europe, said the MY5 arrangement elevates the U.K. broadcaster’s streamer’s diversity in OTT content.

“The Pluto TV channels further enhance our proposition in the U.K.,” he said. “We know that movies and drama in particular work well in the on-demand space and we’re thrilled to debut such an exciting range of library content on My5.”

Pluto TV Joins Comcast’s X1 Platform

Viacom’s online ad-supported TV service Pluto TV June 13 announced it has launched on Comcast Cable’s Xfinity X1 platform.

Pluto TV, which is already available on Comcast’s Internet-only $5 monthly Xfinity Flex service, joins Netflix, YouTube and Amazon Prime Video reaching the cabler’s cloud-based X1 subscribers.

“The launch of Pluto TV on Xfinity X1 is a pivotal moment for Pluto TV, expanding our reach to a whole new audience in search of free streaming entertainment,” Tom Ryan, CEO and co-Founder of Pluto TV, said in a statement. “Pluto TV is the perfect complement to the X1 platform, delivering a rich lineup of original live channels and on-demand movies and TV shows to Comcast’s customers right where they enjoy the rest of their entertainment experience.”

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The AVOD service would appear to complicate Comcast’s planned launch of an NBC Universal branded SVOD/AVOD service to subscribers in 2020. The ad-free version would be available to non-subs and priced comparable to Hulu and Netflix, or $9 to $14 monthly.

Regardless, Pluto TV, with 150 content partners, features movies: Pluto TV Movies 1 & 2and DramaComedyFamilyIndiesRomanceDocumentariesThrillersCult FilmsHorror 24/7Action MoviesFlicks of FuryThe Asylum, and Black Cinema.

News with Today’s Top StoryNews 24/7Cheddar NewsTYT NetworkNewsmaxTVTop Stories by NewsySky NewsBloomberg TV and WeatherNation.

Sports with Pluto TV SportsFox SportsMLS,Impact WrestlingFightCombate WorldStadiumSurf ChannelSports NewsWorld Poker TourCombat GoLucha Libre AAA, and Big Sky Conference.

Comedy with Funny AFPluto TV SitcomsStand Up TVMST3K,RifftraxFail ArmyCats 24/7The OnionCracked and Pet Collective.

Gaming with The FeedHiveAnime All DayAnime All AgesMinecraftvIGNGeek & Sundry and Nerdist.

Entertainment through the Crime NetworkThe New DetectivesUnsolved MysteriesForensic FilesDog the Bounty HunterPluto TV ConspiracyPluto TV AnimalsCold Case FilesShout TVBuzzrClassicTV,ConTVWipeoutKids TV, After School CartoonsClassic ToonsAwesomeness TVNoseyWhat?! and RevryMTV Pluto TVParamount (PZG) Movie Channel, Comedy Central Pluto TVSpike Pluto TVPluto TV LogoBET Pluto TVNick Pluto TV and Nick Jr. Pluto TV – all featuring iconic, hit shows from Viacom’s deep library.

Lifestyle content with Pluto TV CarsPeople TVGordon Ramsay’s Hell’s KitchenComplex NetworksWahlburgersPluto TV HerPluto TV Her DramasPluto TV TravelPluto TV WeddingsFrontDoorAdventure TVFood TV and Faith TV.

Curiosty with Voyager DocumentariesScience TVPluto TV HistoryDocuTVPluto TV BiographyLaw & CrimePluto TV Military and NASA.

Pluto TV Inks Streaming Video Deal with Cox Contour

Viacom-owned Pluto TV June 4 announced a distribution deal on Cox Contour.

The Pluto TV app will soon be available to Contour and Contour Stream Player, enabling the Atlanta-based pay-TV operator’s subscribers access to more than 100 channels of on-demand ad-supported movies, television series, sports, news, general entertainment, lifestyle, comedy, cartoons and gaming.

With over 150 media partners, Pluto TV’s platform ferstures a curated lineup of premium programming, including an all-new slate of Viacom channels featuring TV shows from MTV Pluto TVParamount Movie ChannelComedy Central Pluto TVSpike Pluto TVBET Pluto TVNick Pluto TV and Nick Jr. Pluto TV.

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In addition to live TV, recorded content and on-demand titles, Contour subs can use the voice remote to pull from the vast library of TV shows, movies and more available on Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, YouTube and now Pluto TV.

“The launch of Pluto TV on Contour will provide Cox customers with endless enjoyment of our curated, lean-back streaming offering,” Tom Ryan, CEO & co-founder of Pluto TV, said in a statement.

The partnership is an extension of Viacom’s long-standing relationship with Cox and complements the media company’s efforts to accelerate participation across next-generation platforms to expand its consumer reach and add value for its distribution partners.

The deal provides Cox subs with additional video-viewing options and engagement on a zero-incremental cost basis. For Pluto TV, Cox brings exposure to a new audience that can easily discover the best in ad-supported streaming in one unified entertainment destination with added features and ease of use.

Equipped with an online programming guide and channel surfing capabilities for a lean-back, TV-like experience, there is a whole new world of entertainment streaming on Pluto TV.