Jan. 23 (UPI) -- Viacom announced Tuesday it's buying free streaming service Pluto TV for $340 million, where it hopes to expand its brand while competitors invest in paid services.
Pluto TV has more than 12 million monthly users, with 7.5 million using television. It streams more than 100 channels.
Viacom said the ad-supported service is sourced from more than 130 partnerships with media networks, major film and television studios and digital content producers. Viacom is the umbrella for networks like MTV, BET, VH1, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon.
"Today marks an important step forward in Viacom's evolution, as we work to move both our company and the industry forward," Bob Bakish, Viacom president and chief executive, said in a statement. "Pluto TV's unique and market-leading product, combined with Viacom's brands, content, advanced advertising capabilities and global scale, creates a great opportunity for consumers, partners and Viacom."
The merger comes as Disney, WarnerMedia and NBCUniversal are all developing paid streaming services.
Viacom said the Pluto TV purchase will not interfere with its existing pay television relationships.
Last summer, the company bought AwesomenessTV in a move that led to about 100 layoffs.