Streaming platform Pluto TV set to launch in Australia ‘soon’

A major new player in the TV streaming wars is set to launch in Australia, Mumbrella can reveal.

Pluto TV, owned by Network Ten US parent ViacomCBS, will launch locally in 2022 or 2023.

Pluto: Coming to Australia in months, not years

In an interview with Mumbrella editor-at-large Tim Burrowes’s podcast Unmade, Rod Prosser, chief sales officer of ViacomCBS and Network Ten, signaled Pluto’s arrival.

Prosser told Burrowes that the company believes Pluto can help ViacomCBS gain further growth in the fast growing ad-supported streaming sector.

Asked when Pluto would launch, Prosser replied: “I’m probably letting the cat out of the bag a little bit here. I’m not quite sure of the exact launch date, but one thing I can tell you is it’s coming and it won’t be too far off. We’re not talking years off.”

While the likes of subscription streaming services like Netflix, Stan, Binge and Disney have had the highest profile, the AVOD (advertising-supported video on demand) sector has also seen explosive growth for the likes of 9 Now, 7 Plus, 10 Play and SBS On Demand, driven by viewers who do not want to pay for their streaming.

Pluto, launched in 2014 and bought by ViacomCBS two years ago, is already among the biggest players in AVOD in the US and much of Europe. Viewers can access Pluto TV online, through most smart television sets and also via Apple and Google apps.

Prosser told Unmade that he believed the rise of ad-supported streaming will offset the ongoing decline in linear broadcast viewing.

He said: “We will soon launch another AVOD service in this market. Obviously we’ve got a fairly significant AVOD service being Pluto TV that’s being rolled out globally, and that will equally play into it.”

According to the IP Australia website, the company registered the Pluto TV trademark locally earlier this year.

A point of difference between Pluto TV and the existing AVOD services in Australia is that Pluto offers more than 100 channels based on genre rather than emphasising on-demand viewing. Its navigation is more reminiscent of the schedule-based Fetch TV interface.

Rod Prosser

For this reason, Prosser said that it was unlikely that 10 Play would be rebadged, as 10 All Access was when the company launched its Paramount+ paid streaming service in August. More likely, 10 Play and Pluto TV would stand alongside each other, said Prosser.

“I can’t see how they would merge, but at this point, look, we’re really enthusiastic about the 10 Play product. So we, as I said, we’ll continue to invest and grow that library to grow the overall minutes.”

In the interview, Prosser also signaled that he was bullish about the company’s prospects in the coming year, revealing that the company has budged for its 2022 revenues to beat not just the COVID-affected years of 2020 and 2021, but also 2019.

He said: “Actually, our revenue expectations are higher than 2019. We’ve been really fortunate commercially to grow our revenue share and our overall revenue across the last two years. So I’m really pleased with the sales team. The sales team are singularly focused on what they can deliver and they’re ideas-centric. So that’s really resonated with the market, and off the back of that, we’ve been really successful, as I said, at growing our revenue and our revenue share, but also our premium, what we can offer advertisers in terms of our integration and sponsorship, partnership elements, is been really well received. So our expectation and the company’s expectation is greater than that of what we delivered in 2019.”

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