Viacom To Launch Channels On Pluto TV May 1

Viacom completed its acquisition of the free streaming video service Pluto TV in March; the deal was valued at $340 million. At its newfront presentation on Monday, it outlined its plans to bring its own content to the platform.

Viacom will bring its channels to Pluto TV starting May 1, the company said at its newfront, held at the Playstation Theater in Times Square.

The company is planning three different types of channels for its Pluto TV offerings, including cobranded flagship channels, “lite” versions of its linear cable channels. Those channels will include segments and entire shows from the company’s content library.

The channels will include MTV Pluto TV, Comedy Central Pluto TV, BET Pluto TV, Nick Pluto TV, Nick Jr. Pluto TV, and Spike Pluto TV. 

The Pluto channel marks the return of Spike TV, which was rebranded as Paramount Network for its linear channel.

The company will also launch “Signature Channels,” which will highlight specific genres of programming from its networks. Those channels will include a Comedy Central stand-up comedy channel, a CMT Westerns channel, and MTV channels on dating, teens and “Guy Code.” There will also be a Paramount Movie Channel and a Spike Outdoors channel.

Finally, Viacom will launch temporary “pop-up” channels, starting with one dedicated to the classic MTV series “The Hills,” with others to follow.

Pluto TV has more than 15 million active users, giving Viacom instant scale in the ad-supported OTT marketplace.

Viacom also gave an update on its Digital Studios business, which leverages the company’s IP library to create shows for digital platforms like YouTube and Facebook, as well as streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu.

Among the new shows in development are “Black Coffee,” a talk show hosted by Marc Lamont Hill, which will be available on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter; David Spade’s upcoming Comedy Central late-night show, which will include digital extensions on those same platforms, a docs-series called “3 Days With…” coming to YouTube this year; a Twitch channel based on the MTV show “Wild ’n Out”; an "Throw Back with Nickelodeon” which will debut on Facebook watch, and feature interviews with former Nick stars.

Finally, Viacom said the upcoming VidCon conference would include a programming track in partnership with Group Nine Media’s The Dodo called “The Dodo Pet Zone,” as well as an industry track in partnership with the IAB.

The IAB will hold its Direct Brand Summit during VidCon in Anaheim, California.

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