Pluto TV’s app offers a mix of curated channels which house genre-specific films, TV shows and web videos provided by partners (the company claims to currently have over 120 content partners). It brands itself as a ‘TV-like experience’ – channels are streamed live according to a schedule, though content can also be accessed via a catch-up service. The channels run video ads, and Pluto TV also features branded content as an additional revenue stream.
The company says its content and channels will be adapted to fit local markets. “The launch of Pluto TV in Europe is a monumental achievement as we actively pursue our mission of entertaining the planet,” said Tom Ryan, CEO & co-founder of Pluto TV. “Olivier [Jollet, managing director Europe of Pluto TV] and his team have worked tirelessly to develop and launch Pluto TV in the UK with the perfect mix of our unique channel offerings, content partners, and features, all adapted to meet the sensibilities and affinities of the local audience. This is an exciting next chapter for Pluto TV on a global scale.”
The initial mix of channels available in the UK includes original Pluto TV branded channels, from Pluto TV Movies and Pluto TV Kids to Pluto TV Fight, Pluto TV Explore and branded channels such as Xive TV, World Poker Tour. A new channel has also been launched specifically for the European market, Mystery Science Theater 3000.
“Pluto TV, as a young and successful American company, was immediately met with great interest in the USA, recreating the classic TV channel guide while connecting with a digital first viewership. Now we want to reach out to the European audience as well,” said Jollet. “Our vision is to generate highly engaging viewing experiences and to offer our viewers a diverse yet customised experience on connected TV screens. Pluto TV’s ad funded model opens the door for advertisers to reach a digital first viewership not reached via classic TV advertising. At the same time, content producers who are not yet on television get the chance to shine on the TV screen.”
Pluto TV is one of a number of ad-supported video on-demand (AVOD) picking up considerable audiences in the US. While Roku hasn’t published numbers, the company says its own AVOD channel ‘The Roku Channel’ is the fifth most popular on its platform. Pluto TV itself says it has around ten million monthly active users in the US.
Some predict that AVOD services will become even more popular as consumers start to calculate more carefully how much they’re spending monthly on various pay-TV packages and SVOD services. However, the early leaders like Roku and Pluto TV could face stiff competition should the likes of Amazon Prime and Netflix introduce ad-supported subscriptions to their own services.
Sky, an investor in Pluto TV, says it is confident of the company’s long-term prospects. “We have been very impressed with Pluto TV’s development since our initial investment in the company four years ago”, said Emma Lloyd, group director of business developments and partnerships at Sky. “I’m very excited the service is available for NOW TV customers giving them even more great content to watch and I’m confident Pluto TV will see similar success in the UK as they have in the US.”