Pluto TV launches Free, Ad-Supported Channel

by Steve Nason | Dec. 31, 2020

On December 1st, Pluto TV launched a free, ad-supported channel of original Showtime programming called Showtime Selects. The linear-style channel, whose content will be updated monthly, includes roughly 250 hours of originals with sneak peaks and select episodes of Showtime series such as Shameless, The Affair, Ray Donovan, and Billions. According to Michael Engleman, Showtime’s chief marketing officer, the goal is to keep the channel on Pluto TV “indefinitely”.  A feature is in development, with a scheduled rollout in 2021, to allow Pluto TV users to subscribe directly to the Showtime OTT service. 

ViacomCBS's strategy of including free, ad-supported Showtime content on PlutoTV is a move that should benefit both sides. The appeal of exclusive Showtime programming strengthens PlutoTV's content library and gives it an edge over its ad-based OTT rivals. In turn, the availability of Showtime originals on Pluto TV should incent many viewers to subscribe to the Showtime OTT service.

The first major move across service categories under the ViacomCBS umbrella demonstrates the path forward for its streaming operations. The company, on many occassions, has outlined that its streaming strategy is broken into free, broad pay, and premium pay. This collaboration clearly shows the synergies that will start to become more commonplace across its service pillars.

Further integrations of paid content under the forthcoming Paramount+ banner into Pluto TV would not be all that surprising given this announcement. ViacomCBS wants to ensure that video viewers have as much of their content needs covered within its walled garden no matter the service source or business model.

The impact of this announcement should be pretty significant as others with services of varying business models under one corporate umbrella look to collaborate to benefit each participating offering and the overarching streaming operations. 

This content is featured from Parks Associates OTT Video Market Tracker Service. For more info, email

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