Pluto TV Adds Three Free CBS Interactive Channels Ahead of ViacomCBS Official Deal Close

CBSN New York
Courtesy of CBS Interactive

As Viacom and CBS near the finish line on consummating their merger, Viacom’s Pluto TV is getting additional live programming from CBS Interactive to plug into its free, ad-supported streaming service.

Pluto TV, which Viacom acquired in January, already has offered channels for CBS Interactive’s CBSN national news service and CNET tech-news brand. Starting today, Pluto TV now offers three additional channels: ET Live, the digital offshoot of “Entertainment Tonight,” and live local news streams from CBSN New York and CBSN Los Angeles.

For now, CBS All Access, the Eye’s subscription-streaming service, is not part of the Pluto TV lineup. But part of Pluto TV’s long-term strategy is to bring subscription options to the free, ad-supported service, which provides over 200 free linear channels and several thousand free movies on-demand.

CBS chief Joseph Ianniello, on the company’s Q3 earnings call Tuesday, mentioned that CBS would be bringing new ad-supported channels to Pluto TV, its soon-to-be corporate sibling.

“CBS Interactive has long been an integral partner for Pluto TV. We are excited to continue to grow this relationship and extend new value to the Pluto TV audience together,” Jeff Shultz, Pluto TV’s EVP and chief business officer, said in a statement.

It’s a playbook Viacom has already followed since Pluto TV became part of the fold. This year, the free streamer has added some two dozen channels from Viacom’s brands, including for MTV, BET, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon.

Last week, CBS announced that digital exec Marc DeBevoise is assuming the CEO role at CBS Interactive, taking over for Jim Lanzone, who is leaving after nine years to be an executive-in-residence at Benchmark Capital.

ET Live (channel 120 on Pluto TV) is a 24-hour digital network that features entertainment news, celebrity interviews, features, and behind-the-scenes and red-carpet coverage, as well as celebrity fashion, beauty and lifestyle trends.

CBSN New York (channel 237) was the first of CBS’s local direct-to-consumer streaming news services, launched in December 2018. CBSN NY features live streams of WCBS and WLNY’s regularly scheduled newscasts and additional weekday one-hour newscasts at 7 a.m., 1 p.m. and 7 p.m., as well as continuous coverage of breaking news events. Pluto TV also will offer a library of local news content from CBSN NY that will be available for on-demand viewing.

Similarly, CBSN Los Angeles (channel 238) includes live streams of KCBS (CBS 2) and KCAL (KCAL 9) regularly scheduled newscasts and additional weekday one-hour newscasts at 7 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Since Viacom acquired Pluto TV for $340 million, Pluto TV’s monthly active user base increased about 50% through July 2019, to 18 million. The service provides over 200 linear and original channels and thousands of on-demand movies in partnership with TV networks, movie studios, publishers, and digital media companies.