Verizon, Pluto TV Ink Deal Across Pay TV, CTV, Mobile; Verizon Media Adds Native To DSP

Verizon is making streaming distribution and advanced advertising news.

Verizon and ViacomCBS-owned AVOD PlutoTV have inked what they are calling the industry’s first comprehensive distribution deal spanning pay TV, connected TV and mobile.

Separately, the Verizon Media unit has added native advertising to the ad tech and digital media in its demand-side platform (DSP), reports Deadline.

The new distribution deal gives Pluto TV placement across Verizon’s wireless network — the country’s largest — as well as its Stream TV and other connected platforms, plus its FiOS pay-TV service.

Verizon has nearly 116 million wireless subscribers, four million FiOS video subscribers, and 6 million FiOS broadband customers.

Free, ad-supported Pluto TV was acquired by Viacom for $340 million in January 2019, and has seen particularly strong growth since the Viacom-CBS merger in December 2019. With its channels now expanded into the hundreds, its monthly active users have jumped from 12 million to 20 million and should reach 30 million by year’s end, Pluto TV has projected.

Verizon’s 5G push is in part designed to support the continued growth of streaming consumption in coming years.

Last month, Verizon also announced a comprehensive-portfolio linear carriage agreement with ViacomCBS.

Meanwhile, Verizon Media has been expanding its DSP — which employs Verizon’s first-party data — to become an in-house solution for unified planning, media buying and measurement across all inventory, formats and channels, including programmatic, premium and now native.

The native marketplace includes access to native video, AR, carousel, DPA and other formats across Verizon’s owned and operated sites, including Yahoo, HuffPost and TechCrunch, as well as partnerships with digital and content companies, according to the company.

The DSP added digital out-of-home to its existing streaming audio and connected TV capabilities in December. It also recently introduced an open-source, server-side pre-bid feature designed to speed inventory exposure and auctions.

Verizon Media reported that significant growth in client activity in 2019 and has continued into 2020, but cited depressed ad rates due to the coronavirus pandemic for a 4% decline in first-quarter 2020 revenues, to $1.7 billion.

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