Viacom’s free ad-supported streaming service Pluto TV will be offering its users access to one of Netflix’s more popular original shows, Narcos. This is quite an unusual move for Netflix, which typically keeps its content strictly restricted to its own platform. The decision to offer reruns of this aging show on a free platform may be an effective marketing tactic, however, to lure in new subscribers.
Put simply, Pluto TV is a live-streaming television platform similar to OTT offerings like Sling, but with a couple of big differences: it is entirely free and its content isn’t as robust. You can’t expect to catch the latest episodes of your favorite primetime shows on Pluto TV, but it does offer subscription-fatigued consumers an option for catching free content.
Netflix has two different Narcos original shows: the original one by the same name, as well as the newer one titled Narcos: Mexico. The first show got a total of three seasons with its run from 2015 to 2017; the newer variant premiered a year later and was meant to serve as a fourth season to the original series, instead getting a spinoff into its own title.
Original shows are the primary way that streaming services compete to draw in new customers, so it’s no surprise that Netflix doesn’t allow its original content to exist on other platforms — with rare exceptions. The new deal with ViacomCBS to add Narcos reruns to Pluto TV is one of those rare exceptions, with Bloomberg reporting that the company scored a six-month deal for the show.
The show will arrive on Pluto TV on October 20 and will kick off with the first season. T-Mobile will show advertisements during the streaming, which will see new seasons of the show arrive early next year. The deal was achieved through what is described as having been a competitive bidding war for the rights. What’s so special about Narcos that it would end up on a different platform? It is ultimately owned by a French company called Gaumont SA, unlike other Netflix originals.