Mumbrella may reveal that a major new player in the TV streaming wars is set to launch in Australia.
Pluto TV, owned by ViacomCBS, the American parent company of Network Ten, will launch locally in 2022 or 2023.
In an interview with Mumbrella Editor-in-Chief Tim Burrowes’ Unmade Podcast, ViacomCBS and Network Ten Sales Director Rod Prosser signaled Pluto’s arrival.
Prosser told Burrowes that the company believes Pluto can help ViacomCBS continue to grow in the growing ad-supported streaming industry.
Asked about Pluto’s launch date, Prosser replied, “I’m probably letting the cat out of the bag a bit here. I’m not entirely sure of the exact launch date, but one thing I can tell you is that it’s getting closer and won’t be too far away. We are not talking about years off.
While subscription streaming services like Netflix, Stan, Binge and Disney have had the highest profile, the AVOD (ad-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 don’t want to pay for their streaming.
Pluto, launched in 2014 and acquired by ViacomCBS two years ago, is already among the biggest AVOD players in the US and much of Europe. Viewers can access Pluto TV online, through most smart TVs, and also through Apple and Google apps.
Prosser told Unmade that he believes the rise of ad-supported streaming will offset the continued decline of linear streaming.
He said, “We will soon launch another AVOD service in this market. Obviously we have a fairly large AVOD service, Pluto TV, which is rolling out globally, and that will also play a role.
According to the IP Australia website, the company registered the Pluto TV brand locally earlier this year.
One point of difference between Pluto TV and existing AVOD services in Australia is that Pluto offers over 100 genre-based channels rather than an emphasis on on-demand viewing. Its navigation is more reminiscent of the schedule-based Fetch TV interface.
For that reason, Prosser said 10 Play is unlikely to be rebadged, as 10 All Access was when the company launched its paid Paramount+ streaming service in August. More likely, 10 Play and Pluto TV will stand side by side, Prosser said.
“I don’t see how they would merge, but at this point, listen, we’re really excited about the 10 Play product. So like I said, we’ll continue to invest and grow this library to grow the number total minutes.
In the interview, Prosser also signaled that he was optimistic about the company’s outlook for the year ahead, revealing that the company had moved to have its 2022 revenue beat not only the affected 2020 and 2021 by COVID, but also 2019.
He said, “In fact, our revenue expectations are higher than in 2019. We have been really lucky commercially to increase our revenue share and overall revenue over the past two years. I am therefore very satisfied with the commercial team. The sales team is particularly focused on what they can deliver and they are idea driven. So that’s really resonated in the market, and through that we’ve been really successful in, as I said, increasing our revenue and our revenue share, but also our premium, what we can offer advertisers in terms of integration and sponsorship, elements of partnership, was very well received. Our expectations and those of the company are therefore higher than what we delivered in 2019.”
Subscribe to the Unmade newsletter and podcast, in partnership with Mumbrella: