Free linear OTT TV provider Pluto TV closed a $30M investment round and purchased German OTT video provider Quazer this week. In this interview with CEO Tom Ryan I find out how he plans to parlay these assets into becoming the global hub for free online TV.
Chapter 1: About Pluto TV (0:35)
Pluto TV is an ad-supported free linear TV service built for online viewers that want a lean back, television-like experience. It provides human-programmed channels in a variety of content categories, including news, classic TV, and cartoons. It is available on mobile, connected TV, and PC devices.
Mr. Ryan says there are already 5M active Pluto TV viewers. That represents 10X growth over the last 18 months.
Chapter 2: The Series B Investment (3:00)
Mr. Ryan says the company just closed a series B investment round for $30M. The lead investor is ProsiebenSat.1, with Scripps Networks, Sallfort PrivatBank, and LionTree Partners all participating.
Chapter 3: What Quazer brings to the table (4:00)
Pluto TV purchased German free OTT video startup Quazer TV. In the German market, free over-the-air TV is still very popular, and Quazer wants to help some of those customers into the online video market. As such, the company is aiming at broadly the same market as Pluto TV.
The two companies approach curation and programing of the content in different ways. Pluto uses real people to curate and program the channels it provides. Quazer uses machine learning and algorithms to automatically program its content. Mr. Ryan believes there is room for both approaches.
Chapter 4: Becoming the global hub for free OTT TV (8:40)
Mr. Ryan thinks there’s a big opportunity for a single service to become the global hub for free TV online. Quazer will help the company expand in Europe. It will also help Pluto’s overall expansion. The company plans to use some of the new investment to license more content and boost marketing efforts to fuel growth.