In a rare license move, the hit drama series on Netflix Drugs will be available for free on ViacomCBS’s Pluto television from October 20.
The deal marks the first time Drugs will be widely available to viewers in the US without a Netflix subscription and for free. (The show was previously licensed to Univision through a line deal.) All five seasons of the show (Drugs and Narcos: Mexico) will be available for streaming as part of the Pluto and Narco Novelas TV crime drama, as well as within its own special channel for those who want to marathon the show. The first season of the show will be broadcast weekdays at 22:00 ET. Upcoming episodes will be available the next day, starting at 20:00 ET. The goal is to debut a new season of the series every month until February 2021
While Drugs will still be available for streaming on Netflix, the streamer will no longer be able to call it exclusive – a pride for company executives. While Netflix often licenses broadcasts from other networks and companies, including Pluto TV owner ViacomCBS, Netflix very rarely licenses broadcasts to competitors. Netflix does not own Drugs, However; it is owned by Gaumont International Television, which probably paved the way for the deal.
Pluto TV is a “cornerstone” in the current business of ViacomCBS, said CEO Bob Bekish over the past year and a half. The service has more than 22 million subscribers, and in February ViacomCBS forecasts that these numbers will grow to 30 million. However, with the pandemic and people looking for affordable ways to have fun, free advertising streamers like Pluto TV are likely to reap the benefits. Now Pluto TV can also offer one of the most popular Netflix shows to its subscribers for free.
As for Netflix, although the deal is extremely rare, this is not the first time a Netflix show has appeared elsewhere. Comedy Central has signed the exclusive linear rights to Bojak’s horseman, one of the original Netflix shows, welcomed by former Disney CEO Michael Eisner.