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Pluto TV CEO Touts Long-Term Viability of AVODs

Fern Siegel

Pluto TV is having a good year. It hit 24 million active viewers in May — a 55 percent uptick year-over-year, according to owner ViacomCBS.

Now, Pluto TV CEO and co-founder Tom Ryan tells The Wrap the AVOD is expected to hit 30 million active users by year’s end. It offers 250 free channels and thousands of free movies on demand. And since the pandemic, there has been a 74 percent spike in viewership of news channels.

Part of its success is credited to its parent company.

“We have added dozens and dozens of channels, I think about 50 Viacom and CBS channels, on the platform. We brought world-class brands, as well as world-class content that’s not available anywhere else to Pluto TV, which really helps to differentiate us from other services out there. We have Pluto versions of MTV, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon and BET, as well as expanding our relationship with CBS, which pre-dated our merger,” Ryan notes.

He also sees the long-term value in AVODs.

“Free, ad-supported streaming television is the single largest opportunity from an audience perspective in streaming. Full stop. People are creating their own bundle of streaming apps — the average house uses four to five streaming apps, but are only typically willing to pay for two to three of those. Pluto TV allows you to have hundreds of high-quality, premium live channels and thousands of shows and movies on demand, all for free,” Ryan adds.

Ryan envisions AVODs filling a key role in the streaming universe. It capitalizes on what TV does well — supply binge-worthy shows people want to see, while leveraging advertising to pay for it. “People are flocking to the service and advertisers are seeing great value in getting in front of our audience.”

In May, Pluto TV announced an alliance with TiVo. It would roll out to customers on TiVo EDGE, TiVo’s premium, 4K Ultra High Definition (UHD), all-in-one media device. Versions are designed to work with HD antenna or digital cable.

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