According to a report from DIGIDAY, Viacom will launch 10-15 new channels based on their library of content. Viacom has confirmed to The Streamable that the channels will launch later this spring and include variations of their flagship channels like MTV, Nickelodeon, BET and Comedy Central. They are also expected to debut “pop-up” channels like “The Hills”, which will return to MTV this summer, to promote shows on their linear channels.
Viacom has been using these new networks as part of their upfront pitch to lure advertisers. Unlike other networks, the company no longer does a massive upfront pitch in May to announce programming, instead they set-up Presidents Dinners with agencies which started at the beginning of April.
At these events, they have been promoting their recently acquired ad-supported streaming service, Pluto TV, as a way to assail fears of cord-cutting. Viacom has told advertisers that they will launch linear networks on the service that will be made up of classic shows from their various properties like MTV’s The Hills. It is expected that they will do similar with their library of shows from Comedy Central, BET, and Nickelodeon.
Last week, Pluto TV Co-Founder & CEO Tom Ryan shared that since Viacom acquired Pluto TV in January, the company grew from 12 million to 15 million unique monthly active users. It’s expected that they will offer advertisers inventory on Pluto TV as part of bundled ad packages that include their linear channels, but also as digital-only buys.
In February, Viacom said that they plan to use their infrastructure to expand Pluto TV’s footprint in the United States and around the world. The company also hopes to expand on the platform’s 100 live linear channels with their deep library genre-specific content - kids (Nickelodeon), African-American (BET), reality (MTV & VH1), and comedy (Comedy Central).
Viacom also sees Pluto TV as a marketing engine to sell their own OTT services — Noggin, Comedy Central Now, and Nick Hits. But don’t expect first-run content to appear on Pluto TV, as Viacom says they will keep that content for their own linear channels.