Pluto TV claims 20M monthly active users

Pluto TV, the ad-supported streaming video service acquired by Viacom earlier this year, says it now has approximately 20 million monthly active users.

3,500 brands advertised on Pluto TV during September, which Viacom CFO Wade Davis said was the highest-ever revenue month for the service. He also said that total viewing minutes tripled year over year during the month.

Ahead of the closure of the CBS-Viacom merger, expected to happen in December, Pluto TV added new CBS channels including CBSN New York, CBSN Los Angeles and ET Live.

“This is just a taste of what’s to come when this deal closes in a few weeks,” said Viacom CEO Bob Bakish during Thursday’s earnings call.

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Davis outlined some factors that he said are helping Pluto TV maintain a competitive advantage in the AVOD space. He said the service’s linear-first programming strategy sets it apart and when stacked up against peers like Roku, he said Pluto TV has a distribution advantage since the Roku Channel is constrained to only its owned and operated platform.

Viacom’s media networks business – which houses its cable channels, Advanced Marketing Solutions and Pluto TV – reported fiscal fourth-quarter revenue of approximately $2.6 billion, up 4% year over year. The segment’s advertising revenue stayed largely flat year over year but affiliate revenue registered 6% growth. But adjusted operating income for the segment fell 16% to $597 million, impacted by Viacom’s BET+ launch and ongoing investments at Pluto TV.

Viacom’s consolidated revenues were down 1% to $3.43 billion, and the operating income fell 18% to $530 million.

“We achieved several important milestones. First, we grew domestic ad sales for the full year, driven by the continued acceleration of Advanced Marketing Solutions. We also grew full year domestic affiliate revenue, driven by the extended reach of Viacom's distribution across more viewing platforms. And, for the first time in four years, we returned Paramount to full year profitability – a testament to the strength of our strategy and content slate. As we look to the future of a combined ViacomCBS, we’re thrilled with the momentum we have to create one of the world’s preeminent content companies,” said Bakish in a statement.