Just a few months after acquiring video streaming service Pluto TV, Viacom says it will be bringing its major networks to the ad-supported streaming service, with a whole lineup of new channels launching on May 1.
The company is making this announcement in advance of its NewFronts presentation for advertisers later this afternoon. Viacom Digital Studios President Kelly Day told me the presentation will outline the company’s broader digital strategy, which includes not just the acquisition of Pluto TV but also of the VidCon and SnowGlobe events businesses.
On the Pluto TV side, there will be “flagship channels,” which the company describes as “specially curated versions” of Viacom’s networks — BET Pluto TV, Comedy Central Pluto TV, MTV Pluto TV, Nick Pluto TV, Nick Jr. Pluto TV and Spike Pluto TV. Other channels will have a more specific theme, like CMT Westerns, Comedy Central Stand-up, MTV Dating, MTV Guy Code, MTV Teen, Paramount Movie Channel and Spike Outdoors.
And there will also be “pop-up channels,” which allow viewers to binge on a specific show, starting with “The Hills.”
While Viacom executives have said they plan to add paid subscriptions to Pluto TV, Day said the company is taking “a bit of a contrarian approach” by not just creating its own subscription service to compete with Netflix.
“We believe that free, ad-supported video is still an enormous opportunity,” she said.
Other content announcements include the fact that AwesomenessTV is working on “How to Survive: A Break-Up,” a scripted series for its YouTube channel starring popular YouTube star Eva Gutowski. And there will be linear TV announcements that include online elements, like “Black Coffee,” a morning show from BET that will recap major conversations from Black Twitter, and an untitled Comedy Central late night show hosted by David Spade, which will also publish content to YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Since launching Viacom Digital Studios to spearhead its online video activity just over a year ago, the company says its social video views and watch time have increased by 83 percent and 119 percent, respectively, and that it’s now receiving an global average of 4 billion views each month, adding up to more than 6 billion minutes watched.
“I think that there is tremendous value for our brands in being on platforms where we know audiences are spending a lot of time,” Day said. “We are media brands — and so, if you look at brands like Nickelodeon or MTV, if you’re only focused on the linear audience, you’re missing a huge share of the population and where they’re spending time.”