Pluto TV Lands on Roku Platform in Latin America

ViacomCBS’ ad-supported VOD platform, Pluto TV, has inked a distribution deal with Roku for the streaming video device manufacturer’s platform in Latin America.

The agreement is aimed at expanding access to Pluto TV’s planned 70 channels featuring curated Spanish-language content in 17 Latin American countries. Pluto TV, which ViacomCBS acquired in 2019 for $340 million, has more than 33 million users internationally (including the U.S., Europe and Latin America).

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The deal sees Pluto TV available on The Roku Channel Store in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, and Peru.

“The arrival of Pluto TV to Roku…will allow our users to have an excellent experience of streaming content on a bigger screen, easily, comfortably and without restrictions,” Marco Nobili, SVP of emerging business and strategy at Pluto TV, said in a statement. “We believe Pluto TV is a great complement to all of our distribution partners who can offer free fan-favorite content to their subscribers and users on the same platform that they consume content.”

Yulia Poltorak, director of international content distribution at Roku, said the deal expands upon The Roku Channel’s ad-supported free content outside the U.S., which includes content from film studios, TV channels and production companies from around the world.

“Now more than ever, our users are asking for [more] free content,” Poltorak said.

Pluto TV Now Streaming on Web Browsers in the U.K., Germany, Austria and Switzerland

Pluto TV, the ad-supported VOD platform owned by ViacomCBS, is now available to stream on Web browsers in United Kingdom, Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

Pluto TV is also accessible through third-party connected devices, including Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Android TV, Roku, Virgin Media, Now TV and via apps in the App Store and Google Play Store.

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“Pluto TV has grown consistently since it launched outside of the U.S. two years ago. In Europe and the U.K., we’ve increased both our user base and our channel offering on a monthly basis,” Pierluigi Gazzolo, president of studios and streaming at ViacomCBS Networks International, said in a statement.

Gazzolo said browser access to Pluto TV is an important feature for consumers without streaming media devices, including connected televisions. Pluto.tv can be accessed on Safari, Chrome and Firefox and other operating systems. The platform recently topped 100 content channels.

‘The Carol Burnett Show’ Headed for Pluto TV

Shout! Factory TV on Sept. 1 announced the launch of “The Carol Burnett Show” channel on Pluto TV, a free ad-supported television streaming service.

The 24/7 linear channel presents episodes from all 11 seasons and can be viewed on Channel 516 in Pluto TV’s newly-launched Classic TV section, available on all leading digital streaming devices and services, as well as major smart TVs and gaming consoles.

Additionally, fans looking to stream content on demand can stream episodes on Pluto TV and Shout! Factory TV.

Many of the episodes included in the linear streaming release have been rarely seen since the show’s original broadcast more than 40 years ago. The comedy legend worked with Shout! Factory to find the long-lost masters of these episodes for their on-demand streaming debut on Shout! Factory TV.

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Content ranges from season one’s first “Carol & Sis” sketches, with a teenage Vicki Lawrence playing a character based on Carol Burnett’s real-life sister, and “As The Stomach Turns,” a soap opera parody which ran for all 11 seasons, to the evolution of Tim Conway’s “Oldest Man” character, which he introduced in Season two and performed nearly 20 times over the course of the series.

“I am so thrilled about the launch of the new ‘Carol Burnett Show’ channel on Pluto TV,” said Carol Burnett in a press release. “When the show started in the 1960s, there were only three or four channels to watch and now there are hundreds on Pluto TV alone. I can’t wait for new fans to discover the show and see how the comedy holds up today.”

Reports: AVOD Revenue to Grow 25% in 2020

Subscription streaming video’s counterpart, advertising-supported VOD, continues to gain traction among consumers — and advertisers. New data from eMarketer suggests AVOD revenue will grow more than 25% this year compared to 2019.

The AVOD market, which is spearheaded by The Roku Channel, Disney-owned Hulu, NBCUniversal’s Peacock, Redbox TV, Amazon’s IMDb TV, ViacomCBS’s Pluto TV and Fox Corp.’s Tubi, among others, saw ad revenue skyrocket 31% to $849 million in the most-recent quarter, according to MoffettNathanson Research.

“AVOD advertising benefitted from heightened usage and a mix shift in advertising budgets to OTT platforms, growing sizably in the quarter,” senior analyst Michael Nathanson wrote in a note.

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Speaking Aug. 20 on the DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group Mid-Year 2020 Digital Media Entertainment Report webcast, Nathanson called AVOD the underreported streaming video story.

“That 28% of streaming minutes is where we think the streaming wars are actually happening,” Nathanson said.

With many of the AVOD players owned by major media companies, much of the ad growth would appear to be due to shifting third-party ad dollars from linear TV to connected televisions.

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But with four of the five AVOD platforms owned by major media conglomerates, some of this growth is likely coming from reallocated TV spend. eMarketer contends the 31% rise in AVOD revenue among the top platforms compares with an estimated 28% decline in national broadcast and cable TV ad spending in Q2, according to Nathanson.

Eric Haggstrom, forecasting analyst at Insider Intelligence at eMarketer, believes that while marketers warm to AVOD, much of the revenue revolves around media giants pushing advertisers to proprietary streaming platforms.

“Some advertisers who bought ads in the upfronts are shifting money within the same media company to streaming services,” Haggstrom said.

Indeed, Tubi earlier this year added all episodes of Fox’s “Gordon Ramsay’s 24 Hours to Hell and Back,” in addition to 300 hours of separate Ramsay content, which includes “Hell’s Kitchen,” “Kitchen Nightmares” and “The F Word.” Tubi also added Fox’s music competition show “The Masked Singer.”

“Making this show available on Tubi alongside Gordon’s other series, will only grow his footprint while also further promoting his programs on Fox,” said Rob Wade, president of alternative entertainment and specials at Fox Entertainment.

Hub Study: Online TV Sources ‘Home Base’ for Half of U.S. Consumers

Online TV sources — including subscription video-on-demand services such as Netflix, free services such as Pluto TV, and Virtual MVPDs such as YouTube TV — are now the TV “home base” for half of all U.S. TV consumers, according to Hub’s annual “Decoding the Default” study.

The study since 2015 has tracked the TV source that consumers consider their TV “home base” — the source they turn on first when they’re ready to watch.

“We’ve seen a significant boost in streaming TV service subscriptions since the start of the pandemic in March of this year,” Peter Fondulas, principal at Hub and co-author of the study, said in a statement. “But perhaps more significant than the simple increase in online subscriptions is the profound shift in consumers’ viewing behaviors generally. Instead of reaching first for the cable remote when it comes time to watch TV, more and more consumers are defining TV viewing, first and foremost, as viewing on streaming services. Whether that shift persists once the pandemic crisis has passed is, of course, the billion-dollar question.”

According to the study, 50% of respondents say an online service is the first source they turn on, up from 47% last year. Meanwhile, 42% say their first choice is viewing from the traditional TV set-top box (live viewing, DVR or VOD), down from 47%. (The remaining percentages each year default to viewing over-the-air, from an antenna.)

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For those who default to an online source, nearly half (23% of the 50%) say that online source is Netflix. In fact, Netflix, by itself, is now nearly as likely to be consumers’ TV home base as all live TV channels accessed through pay TV combined. In 2016, live TV from a pay TV service was three times as likely as Netflix to be viewers’ TV default. Netflix trails live viewing by only 7 percentage points.

Fewer than one in five young consumers default to live TV, down 7 percentage points from last year. But more ominously, even among live TV’s strongest adherents — those age 55 or older — the proportion defaulting to live has dropped significantly since just last year. Only 14% of 18-34 year olds turn to live TV before any other source, vs. 21% in 2019. The study found an equal 7-point drop among 55-plus year olds; fewer than half now say live TV is their viewing home base.

The choice of default is driven primarily by two factors — content and ease of show discovery — according to the study. The top reason for making a source one’s default is because it offers access to one’s favorite shows. But a more general content consideration is a top driver as well: wide variety of shows and movies to choose from. Interface simplicity is also a top driver of default, in particular because the service makes it easy to find something to watch.

When consumers decide it’s time to cut back on TV services, they’re much more likely to remain loyal to their TV service default, Hub reports. Hub asked consumers which one TV service they’d keep if they had to drop all others. Among users of each, pay TV service and Netflix were the two most likely to make the cut.

Among users of each service who also treat it as their default, the proportions saying they’d hang on to the service to the bitter end are much higher. For subscribers to the big four SVODs (Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and Disney+), loyalty to the service is two to four times higher among those who default to the service vs. users of each service overall.

Hub’s “Decoding the Default” study was conducted among 1,600 U.S. consumers with broadband, age 16-74, who watch at least one hour of TV per week. The data was collected in August 2020.

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Pluto TV Bowing in Brazil in December

ViacomCBS continues to expand its brand globally through ad-supported Pluto TV, now in Brazil beginning in December.

The service, which bowed service in select Latin America countries earlier this year, is offering Pluto TV Cine Sucessos, Pluto TV Cine Comédia, Pluto TV Cine Drama, Pluto TV Cine Terror, Pluto TV Séries, Pluto TV Retrô, MTV Pluto TV, Pluto TV Anime, Pluto TV Investiga, Pluto TV Natureza, Pluto TV Junior, Nick Jr. Club, Pluto TV Kids and Nick Clássico.

“As ViacomCBS Networks International continues to expand its streaming presence globally, the expansion of Pluto TV furthers this mission and enables audiences in Brazil to enjoy premium streaming content entirely for free,” JC Acosta, president of ViacomCBS Networks Americas, said in a statement.

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Pluto TV already offers 46 live and original channels in Latin America, in addition to on-demand movies from pay-TV operators, movie studios, publishers, and digital media companies, from all genres and for all ages. Pluto TV says it reaches 33 million monthly active users.

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Pluto TV Introduces New Channels, Categories and Content

ViacomCBS’s AVOD service Pluto TV is introducing new categories and reorganizing channels and programming to better suite content themes and genres.

Audiences will now have 15 categories to choose from, with new and existing programming. They include Movies, Entertainment, Featured, News + Opinion, Reality, Crime, Comedy, Classic TV, Home + DIY, Explore, Sports, Gaming + Anime, Music, Latino and Kids.

Pluto TV is also launching a dozen new channels. They include:

  • a 24/7 “Three’s Company” channel;
  • a channel of episodes of “The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson”;
  • Dabl, an over the air network featuring lifestyle experts, including “The Martha Stewart Show,” “Essence of Emeril,” “Cesar 911,” “Escape to the Country” and “Kitchen Nightmares”;
  • Loupe, a streaming art experience representing artists from around the world with hi-res visuals alongside music;
  • a 24/7 “The Rifleman” channel;
  • Demand Africa, offering access to a curated collection of Afrocentric TV shows, series, soaps, movies and lifestyle entertainment from Africa and the diaspora in the world;
  • Western TV, with such golden era Western series as “Walker Texas Ranger,” “The Lone Ranger,”” The Real McCoys,” “Hopalong Cassidy,” “The Adventures of Champion” and “The Rifleman”;
  • Classic TV Comedy, featuring everything from sitcoms to star-studded variety shows, including “Married With Children,” “Dennis the Menace,” “Roseanne” and “The Dick Van Dyke Show”;
  • Classic TV Drama, featuring such shows as “21 Jump Street,” “Sherlock Holmes” (1954) and “The Ray Bradbury Theater”;
  • Pluto TV Love Stories, featuring such shows as “McCleod’s Daughters,” “Failure to Launch,” “Elizabethtown” and “William & Kate”;
  • Pluto TV Fantastic, featuring such shows as “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows,” “Monster Trucks,” “Spiderwick Chronicles” and “Stardust”; and
  • Pluto TV Suspense, featuring such titles as “Escaping Polygamy,” “Killer Instinct with Chris Hansen,” “Her Infidelity” and “Murder on the 13th Floor.”

 

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Announced in July, new classic programming from CBS continues to roll out across Pluto TV.  New series debuting on Pluto TV include “JAG” on TV Land Drama, “America’s Next Top Model” on Pluto TV Best Life and Pluto TV Celebrity, “Everybody Hates Chris” on TV Land Sitcoms, and “Moesha” on TV Land Sitcoms and BET Her.

With a global audience of more than 33 million monthly active users from more than 200 premium content providers, Pluto TV is available on all major mobile, connected TV and desktop devices.

Pluto TV Inks Deal to Bring AVOD Platform to LG Smart TVs

ViacomCBS-owned AVOD service Pluto TV has inked a global distribution deal with LG Electronics to bring its platform to LG’s smart TVs.

Pluto TV is now available on LG 2020 smart TV models in the United States, with rollouts on 2016 to 2019 models to begin in fall 2020. Expansion plans to other regions will be announced at a later date. Pluto TV currently has a global footprint spanning 22 countries.

Pluto TV content is featured via LG’s proprietary LG Channels feature offering access to more than 200 free streaming channels. Once fully integrated later this year, more than 99 Pluto TV channels will be available on LG smart TVs, according to the service.

“We’re thrilled to be able to bring Pluto TV and our leadership in free, ad-supported streaming television to LG’s lineup of critically-acclaimed smart TVs,” Brendon Thomas, VP of distribution for Pluto TV, said in a statement. “Through this partnership, we are excited to have another opportunity to accelerate our mission to entertain the planet by bringing an unparalleled lineup of programming, with instant discoverability through the LG Channels experience, to millions of LG users, for free.”

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“In the highly unusual times we are living in, people are turning to home entertainment in even larger numbers than ever before,” Matt Durgin, director of North America partnerships at LG Electronics, said in a statement. “With the debut of Pluto TV on LG smart TVs, our customers now have access to an even more expansive and diverse roster of free streaming content that will keep everyone entertained and engaged at home.”

Pluto TV delivers 100,000-plus hours of free content to an audience of more than 24 million monthly active users in the U.S. alone, according to the service. It includes hundreds of channels and tens of thousands of titles on demand featuring content from more than 200 major media partners.

ViacomCBS Announces Fall Launch of EyeQ Ad Platform

ViacomCBS announced the planned fall 2020 launch of ViacomCBS EyeQ, a connected video advertising platform that will serve as a single transactional point of entry for digital video content from the company’s portfolio of broadcast, entertainment, news and sports networks, according to the company.

EyeQ will bring together all of the company’s connected video assets — including BET, CBS Television Network, CBS All Access, CBSN, CBS Sports HQ, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Paramount Network, Pluto TV and VH1 — allowing advertisers to access a viewing audience that measures 50 million full-episode monthly unique viewers in the United States, and 150 million across all content and all devices, according to the company.

“The launch of EyeQ marks the arrival of one of the biggest premium video platforms in digital media,” John Halley, chief operating officer of advertising revenue at ViacomCBS, said in a statement. “In unifying the operating backend and go-to-market of three large pre-existing players — CBS Interactive, Pluto TV, and Viacom Video — we have consolidated a massive audience footprint that will deliver quality, scale, and capabilities that cannot be matched.”

“EyeQ is game changing,” David Lawenda, EVP of digital sales and strategy at ViacomCBS, said in a statement. “It is a portal into 50 million highly engaged, full-episode viewers watching our content each month, with 80% of the consumption happening on TV glass. And ViacomCBS can now offer unified buying and frequency control across all of that scale, which is aligned to the needs of an advertising marketplace that is increasingly focused on incremental reach.”

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EyeQ will simplify transactions and reporting across the company’s digital offering and will support a variety of transactional models depending on advertiser preference, including programmatic guaranteed and private marketplace. It will offer multiple lanes of activation, including:

  • content segments, allowing advertisers to verticalize spend under scaled content categories;
  • broad demos, allowing advertisers to maximize reach across all viewership and platforms;
  • strategic segments, allowing advertisers to leverage syndicated behavioral sets or custom audiences through ad platform Vantage; and
  • creative, allowing advertisers to customize immersive brand experiences for greater impact through integrations, custom creative, influencers, and live experiences.

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EyeQ will also introduce a new reporting infrastructure to provide real-time data and tactical campaign guidance for advertisers to track spending across platforms, according to the company. Additionally, EyeQ will offer a range of solutions to measure the effectiveness of campaigns, including ad quality metrics, brand lift, attribution and social sentiment.

Pluto TV to Add Spanish-Language Network Nuestra Vision

ViacomCBS’s AVOD service Pluto TV will add Nuestra Vision, a Spanish-language network featuring Mexican programming for Hispanic audiences living in the United States.

The channel will be featured within the Pluto TV Latino category — a dedicated lineup of more than 20 channels on the platform for U.S. Hispanic audiences.

“Through the exciting addition of Nuestra Vision to the Pluto TV platform, we continue expanding our distribution as part of our mission to reach our target audiences, with premium content directly from Mexico,” Victor Herrera da Silva, CEO of Nuestra Vision, said in a statement. “As audiences continue looking for new and affordable ways to consume their favorite content, there is a great demand to deliver entertaining premium content that is also easy to access, and free.”

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“As Pluto TV continues working towards our mission to entertain the planet, increasing our global reach and weaving cultural resonance into our programming is very important to us,” Amy Kuessner, SVP, Pluto TV content strategy and global partnerships, said in a statement. “This partnership will allow us to keep moving forward in increasing our appeal and availability to audiences abroad.”

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Nuestra Vision provides a family-friendly offering, featuring a large Mexican movie library composed of more than 2,300 movies spanning from the Golden Mexican Movie Era to recent productions. Nuestra Vision also features sports programming, including live games such as men and women soccer tournaments, football games, boxing, lucha libre, baseball, and MMA, together with sports news and content. It also offers news produced live, as well as shows and interviews with Mexican and international talent and celebrities.