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.

ViacomCBS Looking to Sell CNET, Publisher Simon & Schuster

With its renewed streaming video corporate focus, ViacomCBS reportedly is looking to sell digital news platform CNETto a private equity group for around $500 million.

First reported by The Wall Street Journal, which cited sources familiar with the situation, ViacomCBS is looking to shed all non-essential business assets — including publisher Simon & Schuster — in an effort to save $800 million in cost synergies this year from the 2019 merger. The Journal said the deal between ViacomCBS and Fort Mill, S.C.-based Red Ventures could still fall apart.

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ViacomCBS, whose assets include Paramount Pictures, Pluto TV and CBS All Access, is focusing on launching a unified SVOD platform around the CBS brand name.

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During the company’s most-recent fiscal call, the media company said it ended the period with 16.2 million domestic subscription streaming VOD subscribers via CBS All Access and Showtime OTT. It also claimed 26.5 million active monthly Pluto TV users, up 61% from a year ago.

CBS All Access and Showtime OTT Top 16.2 Million Combined Subs

ViacomCBS — which is planning to rebrand CBS All Access into a “super service” on par with HBO Max, Peacock and Disney+ — Aug. 6 reported its SVOD services CBS All Access and Showtime OTT reached 16.2 million combined subscribers through the second quarter ended June 30.

That’s up 74% from 9.3 million subs during the previous-year period.

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The company announced All Access continued to break undisclosed records, with paid subs, streams and minutes watched reaching all-time highs in the quarter — driven by original programming, Paramount movies and children’s content from Nickelodeon. Showtime OTT also delivered its “best quarter ever” in subscriber sign-ups, streams and minutes watched, the company announced, driven by original programming, including “Homeland,” “Billions” and “The Chi.”

Separately, ViacomCBS-owned AVOD platform Pluto TV grew its domestic monthly active users 61% to 26.5 million, from 16.5 million during the previous-year period. In April, Pluto TV entered 17 Latin American markets, and in addition to its presence in Europe, this expansion brought Pluto TV’s total international monthly users to 6.5 million — or 33 million worldwide. Pluto TV increased its platform distribution through deals with Verizon, TiVo and LG.

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ViacomCBS said domestic streaming and digital video revenue in the quarter rose to $489 million, up 25% year-over-year, driven by 52% growth in streaming subscription revenue.

“Our results underscored … rapid acceleration of our streaming business, where we achieved record users and revenue in free and pay while building toward the relaunch of our diversified super service,” CEO Bob Bakish said in a statement.

Indeed, last month ViacomCBS unveiled the first major step in transforming All Access in early 2021. The company added more than 3,500 episodes from the ViacomCBS portfolio, spanning series from BET, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Smithsonian and more. The All Access library now has more than 20,000 episodes and movies. The platform will be home to a slate of new original and exclusive movies and series, including “Big Brother Live Feeds,” “The Stand,”  animated series “Star Trek: Lower Decks,” feature film The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run, and “Kamp Koral,” a new original kids’ series premiering in 2021 and the first spinoff derived from “SpongeBob SquarePants.”

The new All Access will also feature live programming, including news, tentpole events, sports, local CBS stations nationwide and CBSN, CBS News, The Super Bowl, The Grammy Awards, The Academy of Country Music Awards and The Tony Awards. It will also feature major sporting events from golf to football to basketball and UEFA club soccer competitions as the exclusive streaming home to the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League and UEFA Europa Conference League in the United States.

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.

Former Fox Animation and Marvel Exec Grant Gish to Join ViacomCBS Adult Animation Unit

ViacomCBS announced Marvel Studios and former Fox Animation executive Grant Gish will lead its new adult animation unit as SVP of adult animation, entertainment and youth brands, overseeing linear and streaming animation, effective Aug. 31.

Gish joins ViacomCBS on the heels of its expansion into adult animation, driven by such shows as “South Park” and upcoming reimaginings such as Mike Judge’s “Beavis and Butt-Head” and “Jodie,” based on the classic MTV series “Daria.”

Gish helped develop the Emmy Award-winning animated series “Bob’s Burgers” and oversaw the Emmy-nominated “American Dad” during his tenure at Fox Animation. He joins ViacomCBS from Marvel Studios, where he launched the adult comedy and animation group within the former Marvel Television division. Gish spearheaded Marvel’s foray into half-hour comedy and adult animation with upcoming Hulu series “M.O.D.O.K.” and “Hit-Monkey.”

“Grant has incredible instincts and a supercharged passion for animation,” Nina L. Diaz, president of content and chief creative officer for ViacomCBS entertainment and youth group, said in a statement. “Along with his extraordinary reputation and impressive successes with some of the biggest hits in the genre, from ‘Bob’s Burgers’ to ‘American Dad’ — his vision is exactly what we’re looking for to lead our adult animation unit.”

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“I grew up on MTV’s Animation Studios content where I’d run home from school to watch ‘Beavis and Butt-Head’ eating pretzels on my couch,” Gish said in a statement. “With access to such a vast library of IP that will enable us to break through the clutter coupled with the opportunity to create a fresh slate, I couldn’t be more excited to join the E&Y Group that’s growing in droves under Chris and Nina’s leadership.”

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“We are thrilled to have Grant lead our new adult animation unit as we expedite the rapid expansion of our adult animation content,” Chris McCarthy, president of ViacomCBS entertainment and youth group, said in a statement. “Adult animation is an incredibly powerful asset that truly works on every platform and around the world. It’s also pandemic-proof, which is why we are reimaging many of our beloved iconic IPs, unlocking incredible value.”

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.

ViacomCBS Announces Expanded CBS All Access Content Offering

ViacomCBS July 30 announced an expansion of CBS All Access, the subscription video-on-demand and live-streaming service, as the media giant plans to showcase its brands along with AVOD platform Pluto TV.

CBS All Access is adding more than 3,500 episodes, including series from BET, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Smithsonian Channel and more, further diversifying the range of content on the platform and expanding its appeal to a broader range of audiences.

All Access also announced plans for “Kamp Koral,” a new original children’s series premiering in 2021, and the first spinoff from one of ViacomCBS’s biggest global franchises, Nickelodeon’s “SpongeBob SquarePants.” As previously announced, All Access will also be the exclusive streaming home to The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run in early 2021.

The service also began rolling out a new user interface across all major device platforms with enhanced personalization and discovery features, including advanced recommendations, curated homepages, new content categories and central hubs for ViacomCBS’s brands. ViacomCBS will debut the full and rebranded service in early 2021.

“As the first network to market with a branded direct-to-consumer service more than five years ago, we have the advantage and experience of building it from the ground up, establishing distribution points across all major platforms,” Marc DeBevoise, chief digital officer of ViacomCBS and CEO of ViacomCBS Digital.

In the months to come, All Access will expand its content offering to include more than 30,000 episodes and movies, as well as develop exclusive originals from Paramount Pictures and Paramount Television Studios. The additional programming will join a catalog that spans every demographic and content category, from animation to sci-fi, comedy, drama, procedurals, reality and children’s programming.

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In addition, the new service will have live offerings, spanning national and local news, tentpole events and a critical mass of live sports — from golf to football to basketball, plus streaming rights for major sports properties, including pro soccer.

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ViacomCBS content added to All Access includes:

  • BET: All seasons of “Real Husbands of Hollywood,” “Hit the Floor,” plus all prior seasons of “Single Ladies” and more;
  • Comedy Central: All seasons of “Chappelle’s Show,” “Strangers with Candy,” six prior seasons of “Reno 911!” and more;
  • MTV: All seasons of “Laguna Beach” and “Snooki & Jwoww,” prior seasons of “Teen Mom 2,” seasons of “Jersey Shore: Family Vacation” and “MTV Floribama Shore,” as well as a selection from “The Challenge,” “Beavis and Butt-Head: The Mike Judge Collection” among others;
  • Nickelodeon: All seasons of “Avatar: The Last Airbender,” “Rugrats,” plus all prior seasons of “SpongeBob SquarePants” and more, in addition to seasons of “Danny Phantom,” “The Legend of Korra” and “Sam & Cat” that were previously available;
  • Smithsonian Channel: More than 60 episodes of “Aerial America,” seasons of “Air Disasters,” documentaries such as “The Day We Walked on the Moon,” “The Green Book: Guide to Freedom,” “MLK: The Assassination Tapes,” “Pocahontas: Beyond the Myth” and more;
  • TV Land and VH1: Programming like “Hot in Cleveland,” as well as prior seasons of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and “Love & Hip Hop,” among others;
  • Paramount Pictures: More films have been added to the service since May, including The Firm, Charlotte’s Web and Scary Movie, with more than 150 movies in total.

 

New content, including original series, launching on All Access next week and through the end of the year include:

  • “Star Trek: Lower Decks”: Premiering Thursday, Aug. 6;
  • “Big Brother Live Feeds”: Offering an in-depth, exclusive pass to watch all the action inside the Big Brother house all the time;
  • “Star Trek: Discovery” : Season three, premiering Oct. 15;
  • “The Untitled Richard Linklater Project”: premiering this fall;
  • “The Stand”: Limited event series, premiering late 2020.

Pluto TV Bows on Verizon Wireless, the AVOD Service’s Biggest Distribution Deal

Heralded as its biggest distribution deal to date, ViacomCBS’s ad-supported VOD platform, Pluto TV, is launching on Verizon. The deal affords the telecom’s 115 million wireless subscribers access to Pluto’s myriad channels featuring on-demand content from Paramount Pictures, MTV, CBS, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon, among other sources. Starting July 24 some Verizon devices will update to add Pluto’s more than 250 original and branded channels.

The service will be available on select Fios 1100 and 4100 set-top boxes and new activations of Stream TV, in addition to Android TV set-top box. Pluto TV will be viewable on Fios channel 839. Verizon has about 4 million FiOS TV subs and 6 million FiOS broadband users.

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Pluto TV will offer live and on-demand content with thousands of originals and notable content. Verizon devices will include three exclusive channels, including Movies on Verizon, Real Life on Verizon and Yahoo! Finance.

Verizon customers who access Pluto TV will have access to additional content, at no additional cost, including sports (football, soccer, winter sports), national, local and financial news; full seasons of TV shows and feature film such as Arrival, Carol, Sliding Doors, The Illusionist and Donnie Darko.

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Reality programming includes “Coast Guard Alaska/Florida/Pacific Northwest,” “Critical Rescue,” “Navy Seals: Untold Stories,” and Special Delivery: Baby ER.”

Peacock Strikes Content Licensing Agreement With ViacomCBS

Peacock, NBCUniversal’s pending streaming service, July 1 announced an agreement to license Paramount Pictures movies and TV shows from the ViacomCBS library.

TV shows include “Ray Donovan,” “The Affair,” “Charmed,” “Undercover Boss,” “The Game,” “Everybody Hates Chris” and “Real Husbands of Hollywood” will be available to stream on Peacock when it launches nationwide July 15. They will continue to be available on ViacomCBS platforms.

Paramount movies on Peacock in limited exclusivity windows throughout 2021, 2022, and 2023, include The Godfather trilogy, Catch Me If You Can, The Talented Mr. Ripley, American Beauty, Patriot Games, Last Holiday, Fatal Attraction, The Firm, and An Officer and a Gentleman, among others.

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“We continue to expand the Peacock catalog with premium programming from NBCUniversal and beyond; partnering with companies like ViacomCBS to ensure that all of our viewers can choose from the best entertainment options available in the market today,” Frances Manfredi, president, content acquisition and strategy, Peacock, said in a statement.

In two weeks, Peacock will launch across mobile, Web and connected TV platforms with a free tier featuring more than 7,500 hours of movies, shows, and live and on-demand programming across news, sports, reality and late night. Peacock Premium will also be available for $4.99 per month and feature more than 15,000 hours of content. Viewers may also upgrade Peacock Premium to ad-free for an additional $5 per month.

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“This agreement with Peacock demonstrates the incredible and enduring value of ViacomCBS content,” said Dan Cohen, president of ViacomCBS Global Distribution Group. “The partnership we are announcing today is consistent with our strategy to maximize the value of our content by selectively licensing our library product to third parties while prioritizing franchise IP for our own platforms.”