|Founders||Tom Ryan |
Pluto TV is a free, ad-supported VOD service that, in addition to on-demand options, primarily distributes its content through digital linear channels designed to emulate the experience of traditional broadcast programming. The service's revenue is generated from video advertisements seen between programming.
Early years (2013-2019)
In July 2015, Pluto TV signed a deal with Hulu to distribute Hulu's free video content. In October 2015, they added 20 additional channels, bringing the total number of additional channels to above 100. On May 15, 2016, Pluto TV signed a deal with Sony to launch the Pluto TV app on the PlayStation Store for the Sony PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4.
In 2016, the company raised $30 million in series B venture capital funding, valuing the company at $140 million. The round was led by German TV station ProSieben, with additional funding from telecommunications company Sky UK. Pluto Inc. added a chief programming officer role in April, 2017.
In 2017, Pluto TV added a large library of movies and television shows on demand. Pluto's library is licensed from MGM, Viacom, Columbia TriStar, DHX Media, Nelvana, Fremantle, Monstercat, King Features Syndicate, and other studios. Variety reported that as of May 2017, the service was averaging 6 million users per month, and was rated one of the most-watched apps on Roku, as of October 2017. A channel dedicated to movies from The Asylum was added in June 2017. On October 17, 2017, Impact Wrestling announced they were launching a channel on Pluto TV.
On March 15, 2018, Pluto TV partners up with SpotX.
In August 2018, Vizio announced a new streaming experience called WatchFree, built into several models of its lineup of Internet-connected smart TVs. This service is powered by Pluto TV, and Vizio advertised "an easy-to-navigate, cable-like interface" in the announcement.
On September 11, 2018, Pluto TV launched a channel dedicated to Hell's Kitchen.
In October 2018, Pluto TV launched in the United Kingdom on Sky's Now TV service. Also in October 2018, Pluto TV picked Tru Optik to help with ad inventory. On December 4, 2018, Pluto TV launched in Germany and Austria, also through Sky. On December 18, 2018, Pluto TV added channels dedicated to Dog the Bounty Hunter, anime and Lucha Libre AAA.
Purchase by Viacom (2019-present)
In January 2019, Viacom announced its intention to acquire Pluto for $340 million. The deal was completed on March 4, 2019.
Viacom's plans for Pluto TV include more licensed content from Viacom, expansion into Latin America and availability on smart TVs. On March 18, 2019, Viacom announced plans to launch Pluto TV worldwide.
On May 1, 2019, Pluto introduced branded channels based on Viacom cable outlets and other owned properties, including content from Paramount Pictures, BET, Comedy Central, Logo, Nickelodeon, and MTV. Among those channels is a revival of Spike, which had folded a year prior. The free channels aren't simulcasts of their namesake networks but instead focus primarily on archival content and series that Pluto TV has acquired from other providers.
On May 13, 2019, Pluto launched a channel dedicated to Major League Soccer. On May 14, 2019, Pluto launched a channel dedicated to the series Midsomer Murders. On May 20, 2019, "The Young Turks Network" was launched. On May 29, 2019, Pluto TV launched on Amazon Fire TV in the UK, Germany and Austria.
On June 4, 2019, Pluto launched "Pluto TV Weddings" and a channel for Viacom's Logo cable network. On June 27, 2019, "Pluto TV Drama", "Pluto TV Movies" and "Pluto TV Food" were added to Channel 5's My5 on-demand lineup, with My5 channels being launched on Pluto UK in August 2019 (by September 2019 the "Pluto TV Weddings" channel had also been added to Pluto UK's line-up along with the "Conspiracy", "BIOgraphy" and "Animals" channel options, though apart from the three My5 channels, there have been no additional services based on Viacom's international portfolio of TV brands, that have come onto the UK app).
On July 17, 2019, Pluto launched a channel dedicated to Dora the Explorer.
On July 23, Pluto launched "Totally Turtles", a channel dedicated to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise.
On July 30, 2019, Pluto launched three MTV-branded music video channels: "Biggest Pop" for pop hits, "Spankin' New" for new music and up-and-coming artists, and a channel reviving the Yo! MTV Raps brand.
On August 20, 2019, Comedy Central Roast (dedicated to the Comedy Central Roast specials), CMT Cheer 24/7 (dedicated to Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team) and TV Land Drama were launched. At the same time, Pluto TV's existing Sitcoms channel was relaunched under the TV Land brand. The service also announced the launch of a National Football League channel containing reruns of classic games, NFL Films retrospectives and reruns of Hard Knocks.
A Deadline Hollywood piece identified Pluto TV as a potential outlet for CBS streaming content following the announcement of CBS Corporation's re-merger with Viacom in August 2019. Pluto already carries CBS's free online news service CBSN and technology & video game-oriented CNET Video. Additional channels from CBS, including localized versions of CBSN for New York and Los Angeles and an Entertainment Tonight branded channel (ET Live), were added November 13, 2019, prior to the merger's closure.
On September 1, 2019, "Pluto TV 007", a channel dedicated to the James Bond franchise was launched. On September 3, 2019, Pluto TV added Fuse TV. On the same day, Pluto TV Surf, Pluto TV Action, Pluto TV Horror, Pluto TV Gamer, Pluto TV Kids, Pluto TV News, Pluto TV Tech, Pluto TV Science were also added. On September 6, 2019, Pluto TV became available on Apple TV devices in Europe. On September 11, 2019, "Pluto TV SCIFI" launched.
On September 17, 2019, Gameplay Roblox, "BET Homecoming", a BET Her-branded channel, "VH1 Unscripted", "VH1 Hip Hop Family", and binge watch channels of Black Ink Crew, Love & Hip Hop, RuPaul's Drag Race, and a channel with This Old House and Ask This Old House were all launched.
On October 1, 2019, channels dedicated to Degrassi: The Next Generation and the remastered version of Baywatch were launched. Also launched on that date was TBN and the Hillsong Channel, both of which were the first explicitly televangelistic channels to be offered through the service. Finally, channels for "MTV Holla! Ween" (horror rock music videos and other music curated for Halloween), "MTV Block Party", "Pluto TV Terror", and channels dedicated to The Addams Family, American Gladiator, Criss Angel Mindfreak and Fear Factor were also launched.
During the first week of November, Pluto launched nine new channels: including "Pluto TV Election 2020", "Pluto TV Winter Sports", "Curiosity to Inspire", binge-watch channels for Naruto and Leverage, as well as four Christmas channels, including a full-time Yule Log. On November 12, 2019, "Vevo Pop" was launched.
On November 19, 2019, Pluto launched SportsGrid, "Nick Movies", Court TV, "Pluto TV Tween", pocket.watch, a revival of Nick Games, and channels dedicated to NBC's Today and Comedy Central’s Crank Yankers. On November 21, 2019, Pluto TV UK announced a deal with Signature Entertainment for the rights to Woody Allen films from the 1990s. On November 22, 2019, a Pluto TV app for Xbox One consoles was launched. On November 26, 2019, Pluto released an app for macOS Catalina via Apple's Catalyst development kit. On the same day, Pluto added a channel dedicated to Cake Boss.
As of September 1, 2019, Pluto TV carries over 200 channels packaging content acquired through various syndication deals as well as programming from Viacom's internal libraries. Traditional television channels whose feeds are carried directly on Pluto include NASA TV, WeatherNation TV, Buzzr (owned by Fremantle), Newsmax TV, Bloomberg Television, Court TV, Pursuit Channel, RT, and Stadium (owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group).
- The Asylum
- BBC Studios
- Big Sky Conference
- Bloomberg Television
- BRB Internacional
- The Carsey-Werner Company
- Champions Indoor Football
- Cheddar News
- Court TV
- Dash Radio
- Eleven Sports Network
- Fox Sports
- Geek and Sundry
- Glory Kickboxing
- Impact Wrestling
- King Features Syndicate
- Lucha Libre AAA Worldwide
- Major League Soccer
- Newsmax TV
- NASA TV
- National Football League
- NBC News
- People Magazine
- Pursuit Channel
- Shout! Factory
- Sinclair Broadcast Group
- Sky News
- Sony Pictures
- WeatherNation TV
- The Young Turks
Pluto TV's supported devices include: Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Roku, PlayStation 4, Android and iOS mobile devices, and Chromecast. It is also available on Microsoft Windows and MacOS computers.
Outside of the United States, Pluto TV and its apps are currently available in the United Kingdom, Europe, Germany, and Austria. Pluto is also available in countries such as Canada, but only in a limited capacity due to program rights.
- Philo (company), another service partly owned by ViacomCBS
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