Viacom Play Plex mobile streaming apps net new pay-TV partners, hit 15M downloads

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Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN) has struck new distribution deals with with UK-based Virgin Media and Singapore-based mobile operator Singtel for its mobile video streaming service, Viacom Play Plex. 

The Virgin Media deal will make authenticated MTV Play, Nickelodeon Play and Comedy Central Play available to customers. Nick Jr. Play is also expected to become available after the service launches next year.

The Play apps expansion comes as part of a new multi-year programming deal between Viacom and Virgin Media. As part of the new agreement, Spike will now be available for Virgin customers for the first time.

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“We continue to give our customers the very best TV to watch when and how they want and it’s fantastic to work with partners who really understand this,” said David Bouchier, Chief Digital Entertainment Officer at Virgin Media, in a statement.

On top of the Virgin Media agreement, Viacom inked a deal to offer MTV Play, Comedy Central Play and Nick Jr. Play to Singtel’s mobile subscribers in Singapore, expanding on an earlier agreement for Nickelodeon Play. 

In all, VIMN has now made deals with 20 pay-TV providers internationally since launching its first Play app in the fourth quarter of last year. Viacom’s Play apps have totaled up more than 15 million downloads in more than 40 countries since then. The programmer said that more than 30 million long-form episode streams are viewed each month.

 “Our Play apps make our content available when and where our fans want it, extending the reach of that content and leading to more viewing. They are creating significant value for our fans and for our distribution partners as well as maintaining our brands’ relevance and keeping Viacom at the leading edge of evolving consumer demand,” Dan Reich, SVP, Multiplatform Product Strategy and Development, VIMN, said this week during Apps World London.

Viacom’s Nick Jr. Play and Spike Play are expected to roll out internationally in 2017.

Earlier this year, Viacom struck a deal with Roku that allowed the programmer to gain access to Roku’s audience data in order to better target ads. The agreement was designed to better help Viacom monetize its OTT offerings.

RELATED: Viacom's first-ever direct-to-consumer SVOD app is BET Play

While VIMN is expanding its slate of authenticated TV Everywhere apps the company is also launching its first direct-to-consumer subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) service with BET Play. BET Play, which launched in June, costs $3.99 per month and offers live access to BET programming and events.

Viacom’s decision to test the direct-to-consumers waters for some of its networks is a strategy that other programmers are cautiously pursuing as well. Turner has promised to launch multiple standalone SVOD services in the near future and has already announced one movie streaming service, FilmStruck, though the launch of that service has been delayed in order to sort out some issues with the sign-up process.

Amid Viacom’s bid to command more eyeballs in a multiscreen universe are reports that the struggling programmer is actively discussing recombining with CBS. According to the Wall Street Journal, Viacom has hired Morgan Stanley to help explore a new merger for the companies that split up 10 years ago.

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