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The company calls it another way to build its direct-to-consumer business.
Viacom is the owner of MTV Networks and Nickelodeon.
Viacom says buying the 6-year old company is a way of avoiding the capital intensive task of competing directly against subscription video services owned or to be built by Netflix, Walt Disney and AT&T's WarnerMedia.
Founded in 2013, Pluto TV streams more than 100 channels and thousands of hours of on-demand content spanning television and movies, sports, news, lifestyle, comedy, cartoons, gaming and trending digital series.
"Since our launch less than five years ago, and particularly over the past year, Pluto TV has enjoyed explosive growth and become the category leader in free streaming television," said Pluto TV CEO and Co-Founder Tom Ryan. "Viacom's portfolio of global, iconic brands and IP, advanced advertising leadership and international reach will enable Pluto TV to grow even faster and become a major force in streaming TV worldwide. Viacom is the perfect partner to help us accomplish our mission of entertaining the planet."
Pluto TV claims 12 million monthly active users and licenses programming from 130 film and TV partners, including Viacom.
Viacom said it sees Pluto TV as an important outlet for it to sell advanced advertising that has the ability to target viewers based on their habits.
While Viacom has no plans to make current shows on pay TV services available for free on the service, it sees Pluto TV as a way to make money off its archives.