Viacom, home to Nickelodeon and MTV Networks, entered an agreement to acquire Pluto TV, a free streaming TV service. The move comes as Viacom looks to strengthen its direct-to-consumer model and leverage its library across developing over-the-top (OTT) platforms.

Pluto TV is already the No. 2 free app on Roku, with more than 100 live linear channels and more than 5,000 hours of video on demand VOD from more than 130 content partners, including Viacom-owned Paramount Pictures. The service reaches more than 12 million monthly active users, functioning much like traditional ad-supported television, but delivered to nearly any device from smartphones and tablets, to computers, game consoles, and smart TVs.

Viacom President and CEO Bob Bakish sent a memo to employees this week detailing the outlook for the future. It included the following video, “The Power of Pluto TV.”

Pluto TV includes a variety of kids and family content, in addition to the Viacom-owned channel, AwesomenessTV. Among the benefits to owning a free-to-consumer streaming service, Bakish notes the tremendous opportunity to distribution partners and for promoting Viacom content and brands that live elsewhere. This includes including theatrical, pay TV, consumer products, and subscription services such as the preschool-focused Noggin.

About the author

James Zahn

James Zahn

James Zahn, AKA The Rock Father, is Editor-in-Chief of The Toy Book, a Senior Editor at The Toy Insider and The Pop Insider, and Editor of The Toy Report, The Toy Book‘s weekly industry newsletter. As a pop culture and toy industry expert, Zahn has appeared as a panelist and guest at events including Comic-Con International: San Diego (SDCC) Wizard World Chicago, and the ASTRA Marketplace & Academy. Zahn has more than 30 years of experience in the entertainment, retail, and publishing industries, and is frequently called upon to offer expert commentary for publications such as Forbes, Marketwatch, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, USA Today, Reuters, the Washington Post, and more. James has appeared on History Channel’s Modern Marvels, was interviewed by Larry King and Anderson Cooper, and has been seen on Yahoo! Finance, CNN, CNBC, FOX Business, NBC, ABC, CBS, WGN, The CW, and more. Zahn joined the Adventure Media & Events family in 2016, initially serving as a member of the Parent Advisory Board after penning articles for the Netflix Stream Team, Fandango Family, PBS KIDS, Sprout Parents (now Universal Kids), PopSugar, and Chicago Parent. He eventually joined the company full time as a Senior Editor and moved up the ranks to Deputy Editor and Editor-in-Chief.