Viacom is going to make its cable channels stream free... sort of.
The company -- which runs cable networks BET, Comedy Central, MTV and Nickelodeon -- will debut free streaming channels based on those networks Wednesday on PlutoTV, the ad-supported free steaming app that Viacom bought earlier this year for $340 million. The announcement Monday was made in advance of the company's NewFront, an annual presentation to digital advertisers.
But the channels won't be streaming versions of the networks that people get with a pricey cable subscription. Viacom described them in three different categories: Flagship Channels that are "curated versions" of the networks, Signature Channels with top programming from each brand, and Pop-Up Channels that binge-deliver a show marathon-style.
"We are thrilled to expand the Pluto TV offering with the addition of Viacom's world-class channel
brands and iconic programming. This is a major step forward in our mission of entertaining the planet,"
said Tom Ryan, CEO and co-founder of Pluto TV.
Its first pop-up channels will set up marathons of MTV's The Hills ahead of the series' reboot. The flagship channels will be named things like BET Pluto TV, which will stream urban movies, and Comedy Central Pluto TV, which will queue up original comedy series, late night, sketch, animation and specials from the likes of The Daily Show.