Call it a bundle within a bundle.
Viacom’s Pluto TV, a free, ad-supported streaming offering with more than 100 live and curated channels from a range of programmers, is expanding to Comcast’s Xfinity X1 platform. Comcast, the No. 1 U.S. cable operator, has said that X1 accounts for more than two-thirds of its total subscriber base, or about 14 million homes.
Those customers will be able to browse the offerings on Pluto, which Viacom acquired for $340 million in January. Pluto’s programming comes from established media companies like CBS, MGM, Warner Bros. and Paramount as well as digital content brands like Cheddar, The Onion and Nerdist. Viacom itself just launched 14 channels on Pluto derived from its networks. On Pluto, the one caveat about branded channels is that they typically offer a less full-bodied programming lineup than their pay-TV mother ships, so as not to jeopardize the carriage fees distributors pay for the regular channels.
Comcast has been more aggressive than most pay-TV operators when it comes to integrating streaming offerings alongside conventional linear networks within X1. It has previously integrated Netflix, Amazon and YouTube, among others, into the platform. Pluto TV had previously been available on Comcast’s Internet-only Xfinity Flex service.