Pluto TV, the free, linear-style OTT-TV service that offers dozens of channels, said it will eye international expansion after closing a $30 million B round that was led by ProSiebenSat.1 along with help Scripps Networks Interactive and Sallfort PrivatBank and a batch of existing investors.
FT said the new funding values Pluto TV at about $140 million.
Pluto TV noted that its service supports more than 5 million monthly active users (up from about 500,000 in Q1 2015).
Pluto TV also announced it has acquired a company called Quazer to accelerate its expansion into Europe. Quazer is a “lean back TV” startup focused on non-fiction content for German-speaking markets that was previously owned by ProSiebenSat.1.
The new investment adds to the $13 million A round Pluto TV raised in November 2014 that was led by U.S. Venture Partners, with participation from United Talent Agency and existing investors Sky, Chicago Ventures, Great Oaks Venture Capital, and Luminari Capital.
Pluto TV said ProSiebenSat.1 and Scripps Networks will accelerate its programming expertise in the U.S. and in Europe.
Pluto TV launched its curated OTT service in 2014. Today it delivers an array of channels in genres spanning news, sports, comedy, action and adventure, drama, arts and lifestyle, and geeks and gaming, and music. Examples of induvial channels include Drive-In Movies, Classic TV, After School Cartoons. Sky News, NBC News, Bloomberg Television, Snow TV, The Onion, Anime, Awesomeness TV, Mystery Science 3000, NASA TV, 4K channel, as well as two services now owned by Scripps – Newsy and Cracked.
Pluto TV also supports several OTT platforms, including Web browsers, Roku and Amazon Fire TV devices, Apple TV, Chromecast, select smart TVs, and iOS and Android smartphones and tablets.
“With this funding and the expansion into Europe, Pluto TV is uniquely positioned to become the global OTT destination for free television. That’s the goal. That’s the future of TV,” Tom Ryan, Pluto TV’s CEO, said in a statement.
"In only 18 months we scaled our viewership tenfold to an audience of more than 5 million monthly active viewers. That rapid growth affirms our belief that people love the simplicity of a lean back television service curated to their interests, added Ken Parks, the former Spotify exec who is now Pluto TV’s executive chairman.
Though Pluto TV continues to be a free, ad-based service, Parks told FT that the company has not ruled out the development of a premium subscription OTT service.
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