Pluto TV to stream pre-show of 2023 Tony Awards

Paramount’s Pluto TV is delving into live events space, as the free ad-supported service is partnering with CBS to stream a pre-show of this year’s Tony Awards.

According to Paramount, the pre-show will begin at 6:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, June 11, featuring the first round of Tony Awards along with additional “live and exclusive content.” Pluto TV viewers will be able to access the show through the “Pluto TV Celebrity” channel on the desktop app or via a streaming device. More details on pre-show programming will be announced in the coming weeks.

Following the Pluto TV stream, the awards ceremony will go live at 8 p.m. ET on CBS’ linear channel, where the Tonys have been broadcast since 1978. Paramount+ will offer both live and on-demand coverage of the event.

“We are thrilled to collaborate with Pluto TV to kick off this year’s Tony Awards celebration,” stated Jack Sussman, CBS’s EVP of specials, music, live events and alternative programming. “This cross-company partnership allows us to utilize the breadth of the Paramount Global family to bring the best of Broadway into homes of more viewers than ever before.”

This type of strategy falls in line with Paramount’s efforts to balance legacy media with the emerging streaming market. As CFO Naveen Chopra explained last year, “the traditional side of the business can benefit from reduced content investment, as audience behavior continues to evolve.”

“Our partnership with CBS continues to bring even more programming from across the Paramount ecosystem to Pluto TV audiences for free,” added Jeff Grossman, EVP of content and business operations for Paramount Streaming.

Hosting a live event on Pluto TV is one way to promote the FAST service, which reached 78.5 million monthly active users in Q4 2022. Last September, Nielsen’s The Gauge report noted Pluto was the first FAST to break out of the “other streaming” category, nabbing over 1% of total TV time.

Pluto isn’t the only streamer getting involved with live events. Netflix this year jumped into live streaming with its Chris Rock stand-up comedy special on March 4. The service last week planned to broadcast a “Love is Blind” reunion episode but was forced to cancel the live stream due to technical glitches.

On Netflix’s Q1 earnings presentation last week, Netflix co-CEO Greg Peters explained the live stream had a bug that wasn’t seen in internal testing and only became apparent when viewers started tuning into the show.

Prior to the Chris Rock event, Netflix live streamed this year’s Screen Actors Guild Awards on its YouTube channel, as part of a multi-year agreement between the streamer and the SAG-AFTRA union. Starting next year, Netflix will broadcast the SAG Awards on its platform.