ViacomCBS’ Pluto TV Sets Spain, France, Italy Launches, Seals Movistar Plus Deal (EXCLUSIVE)

Raffaele Annecchino and Sergio Osle
Credit: ViacomCBS Networks Iberia & MENA/Movistar+

Revving up its streaming service expansion in Europe, ViacomCBS will launch leading AVOD service Pluto TV in Spain from the end of October. It will then roll out Pluto TV in France and Italy in 2021, the French launch being set for first quarter 2021, ViacomCBS Networks Intl. revealed Thursday.

Coming less than a month after the announcement of the rebranding of CBS All Access as Paramount Plus, an expanded streaming service set to debut early next year, the new European roll-out shows ViacomCBS ramping up ever more its OTT services in and outside the U.S.

Compared with the U.S., Europe is more of a challenge for AVOD due to market fragmentation. The deal for Spain, however, shows ViacomCBS allying from the get-go with the market’s biggest content investor, pay TV Movistar Plus for an ad-sales alliance.

In line with other territories, Pluto TV will bow in Spain via pluto.tv, Apple TV, Android TV, and Amazon Fire TV, as well as mobile device apps for download in iOS and Android.

The Spanish platform will offer 40 thematic channels and thousands of hours of free content across different genres such as movies, series, reality, kids’ IP, lifestyle, crime, and comedy, working with more than 20 content partners in Spain, such as All3Media, Banijay, Fremantle and Lionsgate.

The partnership with Movistar Plus, the Spanish pay TV division of giant European telco Telefonica, will see Movistar Plus selling Pluto TV’s conventional advertising in Spain.

Pluto TV already launched in the U.K. and in Germany and Austria in 2018 before being acquired in March 2019 by Viacom, which announced it would take Pluto TV worldwide.

“Streaming is a key area for us in ViacomCBS, one of our core pillars for our future growth. We have just announced P Plus at a global level as a premium service, and Pluto is a critical asset in the AVOD area,” said Raffaele Annecchino, president of ViacomCBS EMEA and Asia, digital and mobile strategy VCNI. Pluto TV is the first FAST (free, ad-supported, streaming television) service on the Spanish market, he added.

“Movistar has currently the best ad sales house in Spain to sell premium digital advertising. They have been very successful selling advertising through their own channels and this level of expertise and success will benefit Pluto TV tremendously,” said María Rua Aguete, executive director, media and service providers and platforms, at technology research company Omdia.

“For Movistar Plus, the Pluto TV model represents a natural extension of our portfolio in the advertising market,” Movistar Plus president Sergio Oslé told Variety.

“Pluto TV shares our core values as a professional and premium audiovisual content platform that offers brands premium quality and a 100% brand-safe environment,” he added, saying that Pluto’s TV model “complements and expands our CPM sales model, delivering more contact possibilities for brands to expand their markets and access to new targets.”

Pluto TV movie channels in Spain will take in Pluto TV Cine Comedia, Pluto Thrillers, Pluto TV Cine Romántico, and iconic series-based channels such as Ana y los 7, Curro Jiménez, and Andrómeda.  Kids channels include Pluto TV Junior and Pluto TV Kids. The service will offer comedy, gaming, and extreme sports channels and continue to expand with more channels added every month, ViacomCBS Networks Intl. said in a statement Thursday.

Thanks to its Movistar Plus partnership, ViacomCBS aims for Pluto TV to have 100 channels in Spain by the end of 2021, Annecchino said.

In France, Pluto TV will mark ViacomCBS’ first free service proposition on the market with its current portfolio offering a variety of premium content distributed via multiple pay platforms.

“We know French audiences enjoy thematic, curated, and unique channels, and so we have great expectations for Pluto TV with its exclusive media and specifically designed content,” Annecchino commented.

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Pluto TV / VOD Player Catalogo Credit: ViacomCBS Networks Iberia & MENA