Pluto TV is 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.
Pluto TV licenses its content directly from providers, and has deals with more than 75 content partners as of 2017. Its content is available via its website and supported apps.
As of November 2019, the service has 20 million monthly active users.
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.
By October 2017, Pluto TV reached over 15 million users.
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.
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, availability on smart TVs, and paid subscriptions. On March 18, 2019, Viacom announced plans to launch Pluto TV worldwide.
Also, in April 2019, Pluto announced a channel that features content from CNN, and confirmed that it would add new content from CONtv to its library.
On May 1, 2019, Pluto introduced 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 do not match the feeds received by cable and satellite subscribers; the online versions focus primarily on archival content and series that Pluto TV has acquired from other providers.
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 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 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 September 6, 2019, Pluto TV became available on Apple TV devices in Europe. On September 11, 2019, "Pluto TV SCIFI" launched.
On October 15, 2019, Pluto added 11 new channels to their Latino suite, along with The F1rst, a conservative talk channel. On October 24, 2019, Pluto TV announced a partnership with DAZN.
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.
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.