Pluto TV delivers for Viacom as user base grows by 50%

Viacom’s AVOD business Pluto TV saw its monthly user base rise by 50% between Viacom’s acquisition of the business in January and the end of July, ending that month with 18m active users.

News of Pluto’s progress was revealed as Viacom posted solid fiscal Q3 numbers on the back of a recovery in its domestic advertising business, up 6% year-on-year, which the company said was driven by advanced advertising tech. However, adjusted operating income was down 5%, in part due to the investment Viacom is making in Pluto TV and other direct-to-consumer businesses.

Speaking on Viacom’s Q3 earnings call, CEO Bob Bakish said that he expected Pluto TV’s user growth “to continue as we further expand the content offering and broaden distribution, which will also further benefit ad sales and our partners”.

Pluto TV added 28 channels in the quarter to June, which also saw the launch of Pluto TV Latino, offering 11 free channels with over 2,000 hours of programming in Spanish and Portuguese.

Bakish said that Viacom was “delivering on our vision of using Pluto TV as a platform to work with distributors to create incremental value in broadband, mobile and video sub basis, both through advertising and by up-sell and additional video products, including video bundles and targeted SVOD products”. He cited the regent integration of the AVOD offering with Comcast’s Xfinity Flex service and X1 set-top boxes, along with Cox Communications. Contour TV platform.

Bakish said that there was an opportunity to target broadband-only customers in partnership with TV operators, as well as bundled video customers, with the aVOD offering, first in the US and then internationally.

CFO Wade David said that Viacom planned to invest in the necessary infrastructure for “a smooth aggressive rollout” of Pluto TV throughout Latin America and in 19 territories around the world. “There is a big opportunity for us internationally,” he said.

Viacom as a whole posted revenue of $3.36bn for the quarter, up 4%, and adjusted operating income of $757m, down 1%.

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