Free streaming service Pluto TV is expanding. The company has today gained access to streaming sports network CBS Sports HQ as a result of the ViacomCBS merger. It has also forged new distribution deals with Verizon and TiVo, both of which were detailed this week.
The free streamer had been acquired by Viacom for $340 million in early 2019, ahead of the $12 billion merger of media giants, Viacom and CBS Corp. Since the deal’s completion in December 2019, ViacomCBS has been quick to capitalize on the free streaming platform, which has since received its largest product upgrade in years and an aggressive marketing campaign.
On Tuesday, TiVo announced a partnership with Pluto TV that will give TiVo device owners one-click access to Pluto TV’s over 250 live, linear and ad-supported channels and its thousands of movies and TV shows on demand as a part of TiVo’s own ad-supported video network, TiVo+.
Launched last fall, TiVo+ is enabled by partnerships with XUMO, Jukin Media and others, to deliver a range of free streaming content to TiVo viewers. (XUMO has since been snatched up by Comcast, we should note.)
Meanwhile, Deadline exclusively reported on Pluto TV and Verizon’s plans to team up on a distribution deal that will see Pluto TV distributed across Verizon’s wireless network, on connected TV platforms like Stream TV, and on its pay TV service, FiOS. Pluto TV has confirmed the deal to TechCrunch.
And today, the addition of CBS Sports HQ will bring live, anchored sports news coverage to Pluto TV, as well as new programming like “Fantasy Football Today,” “Pick Six” and “Nothing Personal with David Samson.”
The streaming sports network appeals to a younger demographic, with a median age of 35, which makes a good fit for an over-the-top streaming service like Pluto TV.
Despite the cancellation of live sports events due to COVID-19, or perhaps because of it, people are hungry for sports-related content. CBS Sports HQ reports 31% year-over-year growth in unique viewers in March, some of which could be influenced by the overall growth in streaming seen during the COVID-19 quarantine.
“Pluto TV viewers have shown us how much they value news and sports offerings on the platform,” said Jeff Shultz, chief business officer, Pluto TV, in a statement. “In partnership with our colleagues at CBS, we are excited to bring CBS Sports HQ to our growing audience of sports fans.”
CBS Sports HQ is not the first CBS property to make its way to Pluto TV. The free streamer already offered CBS’ streaming news service, CBSN (including local versions like CBSN:NY and CBSN: LA) as well as its streaming entertainment network, ET Live.
Pluto TV has grown to 22 million monthly active viewers in the U.S., and these numbers should increase as new deals and expansions fall into place.