ViacomCBS’ Pluto TV Sets Italy Launch for October With 40 Channels (EXCLUSIVE)

·3 min read

ViacomCBSPluto TV, the fast-growing, free, ad-supported, linear TV-style streaming service, is set to launch in Italy on Oct. 28 with 40 thematic channels spanning multiple genres.

Pluto TV’s Italy launch will expand the service’s European footprint, segueing from successful bows in the U.K., Germany, France and Spain. It will also mark Italy’s first FAST (Free Ad-Supported Television) service and is considered by ViacomCBS as having good synergy as a complement to Paramount Plus’ offering when that premium streaming service launches on Sky in Italy in 2022.

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Pluto TV’s initial Italian content will consist of 40 curated thematic channels comprising movies, TV series, reality shows, kids’ IP, lifestyle, crime and comedy content.

The free content will include classic titles from ViacomCBS’ library, plus content from more than 50 third-party partners, such as Paramount, Lionsgate, Italy’s Minerva — which has a vast library of new and vintage Italian genre fare — KidsMe, Banijay Rights and Cineflix Rights, among others. Additional partners will be announced soon, as the Pluto TV channels expand with more channels added each month.

English-language content will be dubbed into Italian, with no option for Italian viewers to see it in the original language.

The Italian channels available at launch will include Pluto TV Azione, offering action content, Pluto TV Cinema Italiano, Pluto TV Drama and Pluto TV Real Life. Viewers will also be offered kids’ content and comedy, gaming and extreme sports channels. This offer will continue to expand with more channels added every month.

“We are pioneering a new type of streaming platform,” Olivier Jollet, senior VP and general manager of Pluto TV International, told Variety. He noted that when Pluto TV launched in the U.S. in 2014, “nobody believed it would be successful because it was a linear product in the age of on-demand and a free product in the age of subscription.”

But now that TV viewers have become disoriented by having too many viewing options that are often buried away “there is movement towards helping users find the right content,” Jollet added, citing the fact that in France Netflix has been testing its first linear channel, called Netflix Direct.

Jollet underlined that Italy, which has an older demographic than the U.S., is still a strong linear TV market, which makes the country particularly prone to embracing this service.

Sky Media will serve as Pluto TV’s main, but non-exclusive, advertising sales partner in Italy.

“We are thrilled to expand our partnership with ViacomCBS, extending our bouquet of innovative advertising solutions to Pluto TV,” said Evelyn Rothblum, executive VP of advertising, partnerships and distribution for Sky in Italy and Germany.

“This further strengthen Sky Media’s portfolio in terms of digital platforms, audience and content,” she added.

Pluto TV is now present in 25 countries with over 52 million global monthly active users, according to ViacomCBS. The service has more than 100 channels in the U.K. and has grown to having over 60 in both Spain and France.

In Europe, where Pluto TV says it is among the top 10 most downloaded free apps in the U.K., France, Germany, Switzerland and Austria, the service has partnered with big players such as Mediawan, BBC Studio, Banijay, Lionsgate, All3Media and FilmRise, besides, of course, Paramount and CBS.

Just like in its 25 other markets — which include Latin America, the U.S. and Europe — Pluto TV in Italy will be available for free, with no registration required. The service will launch on mobile via iOS and Android, desktop and connected TV (CTV) devices, such as Samsung Tizen, LG Smart TVs, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV and Chromecast, and also on select channels on Samsung TV Plus.

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