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

Viacom announced the international launch of BET Play, the programmer's first-ever direct-to-consumer, subscription video on demand (SVOD) service.

The app will cost $3.99 per month for live access to BET programming and events. The timing of the launch coincides with the 2016 BET Awards, scheduled to air on June 26. BET Play is offering free seven-day trials.

"The launch of BET Play significantly expands the brand's geographic availability by making it available direct to consumer in many markets where it has not previously had an established presence on TV," said Michael D. Armstrong, executive vice president and general manager of International Brand Development for Viacom International Media Networks, in a statement.

The app, which will be available in 100 countries, will work on Android and iOS devices and will be enabled for large-screen casting via AirPlay.

BET Play will slot in among Viacom's other Play Plex VOD apps for channels including Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr. and Spike.

"We've seen incredible interest in, and uptake of, our Play Plex suite of apps, which have completely exceeded our expectations," said Bob Bakish, president and CEO of Viacom International Media Networks, in a statement.

Viacom's first foray into direct-to-consumer SVOD comes as CBS, which split from Viacom in 2006, is nearly two years out from the launch of its direct-to-consumer app, CBS All Access. CBS' app charges $5.99 per month for live content and old episodes.

Viacom is currently embroiled in management realignment drama. CEO Philippe Dauman is fighting to retain his position as Sumner Redstone, whose National Amusements owns 80 percent of voting shares of Viacom, last week moved to oust five Viacom Board directors, including Dauman.

In an interview earlier this week with Fortune, Dauman was asked whether Viacom had moved fast enough to digital in order to hold onto its young audience, whose viewing preferences continually trend toward mobile.

To that, Dauman argued that Viacom was the first company to engage with SVOD companies like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon, as well as the first to "put our content on mobile in a significant way."

For more:
- read this press release
- read this Fortune interview

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