After completing its acquisition of Pluto TV for $340 million last month, Viacom is pumping up the free streaming service with old TV shows. As Cord Cutters News reports, Pluto will launch 14 Viacom-branded channels on May 1, including channels for Comedy Central, MTV, BET, Nick, and CMT. Instead of copying their cable counterparts, the new channels will offer classic shows like Punkd, Pit Boss, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Dora the Explorer. Viacom will also offer pop-up channels with marathons for specific shows, starting with The Hills.
Like other media giants, Viacom is feeling the effects of cord-cutting as people switch to cheaper streaming TV packages–some of which lack Viacom channels–or abandon TV bundles entirely. A recent MoffettNathanson report noted that Viacom’s ad revenue was down 3% year-over-year last quarter, and cable viewership in the 18-to-49 demographic dropped 10%.
Prior to buying Pluto TV, Viacom hadn’t really established a streaming strategy, but it now hopes to become a major player in ad-supported video through Pluto’s 12 million active users. Viacom has also hinted at turning Pluto into a distribution channel for subscription services down the road.