By the end of 2022, more than 6,300 episodes from the CBS library, including mainstays like Taxi, Matlock, Touched by an Angel and Mork & Mindy, will join Pluto’s roster of free, on-demand titles. Plus, nine classic shows, including Cheers, Frasier and Star Trek, will be featured in the lineups of various 24/7 streaming channels. Pluto has been one of the biggest purveyors of free, ad-supported TV, aka FAST, which provides a cable-like environment suitable for channel surfing within the digital environment of streaming. The startup was acquired by Viacom in 2019 and has gone on to become a cornerstone of Paramount Global.
Over the past three years, CBS has increased its footprint from three channels to more than 40 across news, sports, classic TV and daytime. Last year, CBS added the “rolling four” to Pluto TV, offering the most recent four in-season episodes of prime-time series for viewers to stream on-demand, for free. The company says that initiative has made CBS the No. 1 driver of audience engagement and revenue on Pluto, which last year became a $1 billion annual business. Pluto also became the first free streaming platform to break past 1% of total viewing in Nielsen’s monthly report The Gauge.
Pluto has recently added channels dedicated to CSI: Miami and CSI: New York and put NCIS and Criminal Minds into the programming mix along with a curated, branded channel featuring past interviews on 60 Minutes.
“Pluto TV and CBS are both proven leaders delivering world-class entertainment to global audiences,” Paramount Streaming CEO Tom Ryan said in a press release. “With unrivaled access to the coveted CBS library, Pluto TV is able to deliver the best of both worlds to our viewers – world-class, evergreen programming with flexible viewing options, all for free.”
George Cheeks, president and CEO of CBS, said the two corporate siblings have “supercharged” the company’s streaming efforts by working in concert. “Both of our teams are continually benefitting from insights and learnings around FAST programming performance to help define future strategies that benefit each of our businesses. The overwhelming success of the CSI and 48 Hours channels on Pluto TV are just two recent examples of how our broadcast franchises are connecting with a growing and often unduplicated streaming audience. We think we’re just getting started in how we can work together with Pluto TV for the benefit of our content and the company.”