NBC Chicago streaming channel heads to Pluto TV

Highlights the rarity of two competing networks on the same platform 

Starting today, Chicago viewers can now find WMAQ-TV’s streaming local news channel on Pluto TV.

“We are excited to grow our existing partnership with Pluto TV and expand the reach of our premium local news content to new audiences,” said Amy Geary, senior VP of NBCUniversal Content Distribution. “News remains a valuable asset in our NBCUniversal portfolio and we are thrilled to offer these regional networks to Pluto TV audiences.”

Known as NBC Chicago News, the channel is also available on sister NBC-owned platforms Peacock and Xumo, Samsung TV Plus, Amazon Fire, The Roku Channel, and NBC 5’s website. The deal includes WMAQ and fourteen other NBC-owned station news streaming channels, consisting of eleven NBCUniversal English-language FAST channels and four Telemundo outlets.

Joining WMAQ in launching its FAST channels today are four of its NBC-owned sister stations in New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C. The others launching later this month belong to NBC’s stations in Dallas, Boston, San Francisco, Miami, Hartford, and San Diego and the four Telemundo stations in California, Texas, and Florida.

The deal is a bit unusual given NBCUniversal and PlutoTV’s parent company CBS (or Paramount Global) are fierce competitors, given PlutoTV also features CBS-owned stations’ streaming news channels, including WBBM-TV’s CBS News Chicago. But Pluto has other NBCUniversal content, including NBC News Now, Today All Day, and Dateline 24/7, meaning collaboration is necessary to reach the audiences needed. 

Earlier today in Canada, fierce competitors Corus Entertainment and Bell Media, which licenses the iHeart Radio name north of the border, announced a partnership where 39 Corus radio stations are landing on iHeartMedia Radio Canada’s platform. In the U.S. iHeartMedia Radio already hosts competitors’ content from Nexstar (WGN-AM), Good Karma Brands, Hubbard, Univision, and Cumulus on their platform.

“In our mission of entertaining the planet, Pluto TV offers coverage on both global and local levels, striving to connect our audiences with every community that they are a part of,” said Amy Kuessner, EVP, programming of PlutoTV. “By building on our local, geo-targeted news offering to include a variety of NBCUniversal news channels, we’re ensuring our viewers stay informed about what matters most in their neighborhoods and enriching their viewing experience with relevant, timely content.”

The future of Pluto TV’s corporate parent Paramount is up in the air after talks to merge with Skydance stalled, fueling rumors Paramount may look elsewhere for a deal (such as one offered by Sony and Apollo Global), or not make one at all.


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