The takeover bid has been born out of a desire to grow Viacom’s direct-to-consumer business, while also skirting a difficult and expensive direct confrontation with established platforms such as Netflix, Disney and AT&T.
By wresting full control of Pluto TV Viacom will seek to harness it as an additional outlet for it to sell advertising which can be targeted towards specific people based on their viewing habits.
Viacom’s interest has been piqued by the success of free video streaming services from Roku and Amazon, opening its eyes to the advertising opportunities presented by supported digital media.
Pluto TV lays claim to 12 million monthly viewers drawn to content licensed from 130 film and TV partners, including archive Viacom material. It is unlikely that Viacom will allow valuable current shows to be screened for free.
Last October Viacom partnered with WebTVAsia to stream MTV content on demand in China.