Viacom has agreed to acquire streaming service Pluto TV for $340 million in cash, the latest piece of its strategy to build a streaming business as consumers cut the cord.
Pluto TV is a free, ad-supported service that has given over-the-top viewers a video option that doesn't require a cable subscription or monthly payments to Netflix. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter, the companies said in a statement on Tuesday.
For Viacom, which owns MTV, Comedy Central and VH1, the acquisition could help in future negotiations with pay-TV distributors. Viacom plans to let carriers such as Comcast and Charter offer the service for their broadband-only customers, according to a person familiar with the matter who asked not to be named because the strategy is confidential.