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.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

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.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

“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.”

Viacom, Tyler Perry Partner for BET Streaming Video Service

BET Networks, a unit of Viacom Media Networks, and Tyler Perry Studios June 24 unveiled a new joint venture to launch BET+, a pending subscription video-on-demand service targeting the African-American audience.

Available this fall, BET+ will feature more than 1,000 hours of content, including original programming and catalog series, movies, and specials from BET Networks, Perry, and other African-American content creators.

Tyler Perry

“African-Americans are the leading consumers of streaming services, with higher SVOD adoption rates than other consumers, which is why we’re so excited to launch a premium product for this underserved audience,” Scott Mills, president of BET Networks, said in a statement.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

BET+ will offer consumers a comprehensive collection of African-American-focused dramas, sitcoms, films and specials. It will be the official home of Tyler Perry’s collected works across film, television and the stage.

The service will feature Perry’s box office-topping theatrical films, including films from the “Madea” series; original series “House of Payne” and “Meet the Browns” and a selection of Perry’s stage plays.

“In our industry, the way people consume content is constantly evolving,” Perry said. “I’ve paid attention to my audience and what works for them and, for that reason, I’m very excited not only about the idea of partnering with BET to create new and exciting content, but also about the idea of giving people a personalized experience through the ability to curate the content they love to consume.”

The first BET+ original — “First Wives Club,” a 10 episode scripted drama from Girls Trip screenwriter Tracy Oliver — will debut on the service in the fall.

The modern television remake of the classic 1996 revenge comedy starring Goldie Hawn, Bette Midler and Diane Keaton now stars an African American cast, including Jill Scott(“Why Did I Get Married”), Ryan Michelle Bathe (“This is Us,” “Empire”) and Michelle Buteau (“Isn’t It Romantic”).

“First Wives Club” kicks off BET+’s slate of exclusive original programming that includes the premiere of a new series from Will Packer (“Ride Along,” “Think Like a Man”) and new original series from Tyler Perry and more.

The service will also feature a deep library of beloved series, films, and documentaries from BET Networks and the Viacom portfolio — including “Real Husbands of Hollywood,” “The New Edition Story,” “The Quad,” “College Hill,” “Comic View,” “Hell Date,” and more — most of which have not previously been available on streaming platforms.

BET+ will be available at launch on Android devices such as Samsung Galaxy, iOS devices such as the Apple iPad and iPhone, as well as other streaming devices.

BET’s new and current-window programming will continue to be available on BET’s linear network, including the newly-announced Tyler Perry original drama, “The Oval,” which will debut on BET as the first series under Perry’s multi-year content partnership with the network.

With over 75 hours of new original content slated to premiere on BET over the next year, Perry’s line-up will also include another drama series, two comedy series, and a live holiday-themed production. BET fans will have additional access points to BET content on BET.com and the BET Now app for TV Everywhere users.

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.”

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

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.

Viacom Africa to Launch Nickelodeon-Themed eSports Platform

Viacom is set bow its first interactive eSports gaming platform based on its Nickelodeon kids franchise through Viacom Africa.

The African division of the parent to Paramount Pictures, MTV and Comedy Central, among others, is said to be working with Australia-based Emerge Gaming for the “NickX’ platform, which will be based on the latter’s ArcadeX technology.

NickX would afford Nickelodeon’s target market access to an esports tournament platform featuring branded games and content.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

The global eSports market is projected to reach 453.8 million players in 2019, up 15% from 2018, according to research firm NewZoo. This user base will consist of 201.2 million eSports enthusiasts (up 16.3%) and 252.6 million occasional players (up 14%).

The NickX platform will be accessible for free through the Nick app, Android and iOS devices. Viacom and Emerge would split revenue from premium subscriptions, in-app subscriptions and advertising. The platform is slated for launch in July.

“Viacom represents the absolute best in terms of … leading global brands with [worldwide] reach and represents the first [major] brand to partner with Emerge Gaming,” Bert Mondello, chairman of Emerge Gaming, said in a statement. “The strategy is to provide kids with educational content through ‘NickX’ while [also] creating an engaging gaming environment.”

 

 

Viacom’s BET Getting into Streaming Video

Viacom’s BET network reportedly is getting into the over-the-top video business with a little help from Tyler Perry.

The streaming service — dubbed BET+ — will be supported content-wise and financially by Perry, according to The Wall Street Journal, which cited people familiar with the situation.

No pricing has been announced.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Perry, who has a five-year production deal with Viacom, would also offer content from his branded Tyler Perry Studios, as well as from Viacom subsidiaries VH1, Comedy Central and MTV.

BET+ already has competition from AMC Network’s Urban Movie Channel, which launched in 2015 by BET founder Robert L. Johnson offering movies, TV shows and stand-up comedy to African American audiences.

After a slow start, Viacom has jumped head first into OTT video following the acquisition of ad-supported Pluto TV earlier this year. BET+ follows Noggin, the $2.99 pre-school-centric SVOD service launched in 1999.

The service follows in the footsteps of pending Disney+ and Apple TV+, among other services, and will be disclosed to viewers by Perry during the BET Awards on June 23.

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.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

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.

Sony, Viacom, CBS, Showtime, NBC Universal, AMC Network Join Growing Studio Sentiment Not to Work in Georgia Should Anti-Abortion Law Go Into Effect

Then the dam broke.

Sony Pictures, Viacom, CBS, Showtime, NBC Universal and AMC Networks, which has produced “The Walking Dead” in Georgia for more than 10 years, May 30 joined a bandwagon of Hollywood studios, producers and actors who have said they would cease doing business should the state’s new anti-abortion law go into effect on Jan. 1, 2020.

Gov. Brian Kemp signed the legislation on May 8 making it unlawful for a woman to have an abortion six weeks after pregnancy. Georgia currently bans abortions after 20 weeks.

The issue is unique to Georgia, which has become a prolific location for movie and TV show production, reportedly  accounting for 40 current content production outside of California and New York.

“If this highly restrictive legislation goes into effect, we will re-evaluate our activity in Georgia,” AMC said in a statement.

The network, which was one of the first to produce content in the Peach state with “Walking Dead,” said similar laws passed in other states have been challenged and so would the measure in Georgia.

“This is likely to be a long and complicated fight and we are watching it all very closely,” AMC said.

A spokesperson from Comcast-owned NBC Universal said the media company doesn’t expect the law to go into effect, but is ready to act if required.

“If any of these laws are upheld, it would strongly impact our decision-making on where we produce our content in the future,” said the spokesperson.

A Sony Pictures rep echoed the sentiment saying the Culver City, Calif.-based studio would continue to monitor the situation and “would consider our future production options” if warranted.

Report: CBS, Viacom to Rekindle Merger Discussions

Media giant Viacom (parent to Paramount Pictures) and CBS reportedly are set to begin in June renewed discussions about a possible merger — nearly 20 years after Viacom created CBS Corp. through a spin-off.

CNBC, citing sources familiar with the situation, say the two companies controlled by Sumner Redstone and his daughter Shari Redstone’s National Amusements corporate umbrella are seeking to “bulk up” the balance sheet in a rapidly evolving media landscape underscored by mergers and acquisitions.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

National Amusements has twice tried unsuccessfully to merge CBS back into the fold — efforts largely rebuked by former CBS CEO Les Moonves, who sought the top position in the merged companies. Sharri Redstone preferred Viacom CEO Bob Bakish in that role.

Moonves was forced out of CBS following multiple allegations of inappropriate workplace behavior toward women.

Scuttlebutt about a possible merger grew after Joseph Ianniello, acting CEO at CBS, had his contract renewed only to the end of the year, and search for a permanent executive was cancelled.

CNBC said the merger would likely be a stepping stone to further M&A activity, including a renewed bid for Lionsgate-owned Starz and SVOD platform Starz Play, and possibly Discovery Communications, home to HGTV, Food Network and DIY Network, among other properties.

Tubi Expands Ad Sales Team

Ad-supported VOD service Tubi May 21  named former senior Viacom advertising executive Peter Graseck as VP of East Coast advertising sales. Graseck will lead the New York ad team and work alongside fellow VPs Heather Strofs, West Coast region, and Todd Segall, Midwest region.

The three report to chief revenue officer Mark Rotblat.

“Peter, Heather, and Todd are all talented executives with undeniable business acumen and integrity, and we look forward to leveraging their expertise during this pivotal growth period,” Rotblat said in a statement.

From Left: Peter Graseck, Heather Strofs, Todd Segall

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Graseck’s media career spans a wide variety of advertising and marketing functions; agency media planning at Young & Rubicam, marketing and branded entertainment at NBC Universal, and for the past 12 years at Viacom, he has held leadership roles in integrated marketing, client strategy, and both general market sales for Comedy Central, Spike, CMT, and TV Land, and direct response sales. Most recently, Graseck was the SVP of Viacom Partner Solutions where he oversaw all direct response accounts across Viacom’s cable networks and digital platforms.

Strofs came to Tubi with over 15 years of sales and leadership experience across the New York, Chicago, and West Coast Markets. She most recently served as VP, ad sales at The Oprah Winfrey Network where she collaborated with clients to create custom solutions that allowed advertising partners to reach their consumers in a unique and impactful way across linear, digital and social platforms. During her tenure, she brought on launch partners at OWN’s inception and continued to create innovative solutions across the studio, technology, and auto landscapes.

Segall joined Tubi from Roku where he was head of sales for their Central Region based out of Chicago and was responsible for building out their sales team and market presence. Prior to joining Roku, Segall was senior category sales director at AOL where he led the Finance Vertical as well as their mid-market sales team.