Pluto TV on track to pass $1B in ad revenue by Q4, ViacomCBS CEO says

Pluto TV, ViacomCBS’s free, ad-supported television service, looks to be ahead of financial projections as it closes in on $1 billion in annual ad revenue.

ViacomCBS CEO Bob Bakish, speaking today at an Evercore investor conference, said that, on a run rate basis, Pluto TV is on track to exceed $1 billion in total ad revenue during the fourth quarter.

That revenue growth estimate puts Pluto TV ahead of the projections recently laid out by eMarketer. The research company estimated Pluto TV will total up $786.7 million in net U.S. ad revenues this year, up 77.7% year over year, before reaching $1.14 billion in 2022.

“The growth of Pluto TV’s ad business is reflective of how advertisers are funneling more money toward streaming video,” wrote eMarketer’s Ross Benes, who cited Advertiser Perceptions research that suggests 42% of U.S. agency and marketing professionals plan to increase ad spending within streaming services over the next 12 months.

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The increase in streaming video ad spend already has ViacomCBS making big projections for next year.

“…We expect it to be comfortably above $1 billion for full-year 2022,” said Bakish. “And it’s worth noting, from a monetization standpoint, Pluto TV is essentially still a U.S. business.”

Pluto TV is now in 25 markets internationally and has plans to add more countries to the list this year. “We expect the international markets to follow a similar path that we experienced in the U.S. So, you start with MAU growth, then you get engagement…and then you go to monetization through sellout and price.”

Bakish said that Pluto TV’s revenue more than doubled year over year in the most recent quarter, which he added was the third consecutive quarter of similar growth.

During the first quarter, Pluto TV added 6 million global month active users to reach nearly 50 million all together.