In an effort to be more competitive in the streaming TV market, the ad-supported streaming service Pluto TV announced this morning it will expand its offering of live streaming channels to include a large library of on-demand movies and television shows. The launch of on-demand content comes shortly after the company announced licensing deals with Lionsgate, MGM and Warner Bros.
The news was first reported by Variety, which also noted that Pluto TV has more than 6 million monthly viewers and may consider a subscription service tier in the future.
The market for live streaming television over the internet has heated up in recent months with new competition from Hulu Live TV, DirecTV Now and YouTube TV, which have joined established players like PlayStation Vue and Sling TV. Pluto TV’s service, however, has always been a little different. Instead of trying to port traditional broadcast and cable television to the internet, it has largely capitalized on web video to offer a variety of live “channels” that you could watch at any time.
Today, Pluto TV streams more than 100 live channels, including news, cartoons, CNET, The Surf Network, classic movies, IGN, World Poker Tour, MST3K, The Onion, music and more, for free. Instead of being a place where you go to watch favorite television shows, the idea is to offer a TV-like experience that’s filled with a lot of internet content, including viral videos, as well as the sort of programming users often miss out on when they rely only on Netflix, like the news.
However, Pluto TV has catered to users’ desires for more traditional television in the past, such as with its old deal to stream Hulu’s free content.
With the addition of the licensed movies and TV from Lionsgate, MGM and Warner Bros., Pluto TV will be able to offer users thousands of free titles they can watch at any time, the company says.
The content will also be used to expand Pluto TV’s programmed channels, like “The Crime Network,” “Horror 24/7,” “The Feed” (technology focused), “Funny AF” and “Action Movies.”
Included in the licensing deals were titles like MGM’s “Silence of the Lambs” and “The Usual Suspects;” Lionsgate’s “Haywire,” “Brothers, & Bad Boys,” and complete TV shows like Warner Bros.’s “The Ben Stiller Show” and “Super Fun Night,” for example.
Other on-demand movies include “Vanilla Sky,” “Species,” “Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow,” “The Birdcage,” “Charlotte’s Web,” “Thelma & Louise,” “Mad Max,” “The Hours,” “Defiance,” “The Kite Runner,” “Dances With Wolves,” “Paulie,” “Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away,” and “Lars and the Real Girl.” The TV lineup includes “Fear Factor,” “American Hoggers,” “I Love New York,” “The Dead Zone” and “Paranormal State.”
The idea to offer free, on-demand titles supported by ads isn’t unique to Pluto TV, it’s worth noting — free streaming service Tubi TV does something similar, and just raised $20 million in new funding for its efforts. Pluto TV, meanwhile, is backed by $30 million from German media company ProSiebenSat.1, Scripps Networks Interactive, Sallfort PrivatBank, USVP, Sky, Luminari Capital, Chicago Ventures, Terry Semel’s Windsor Media and UTA.
Alongside its announcement of premium deals with the studios this month, Pluto TV additionally announced several deals with digital media brands, like CNN Great Big Story, Hearst Entertainment, Al Jazeera Entertainment, The Orchard, Defy Media, Machinima, Studio71 and Tastemade, which joined existing partnerships it has with Fremantle, Endemol Shine International, Yahoo!, CNBC, Cheddar and Mashable.
At the time of the original announcement regarding its new deals, however, Pluto TV didn’t note that the premium content would be available on demand.
Pluto TV is available across devices, including desktop, mobile, smart TVs and streaming players. The video-on-demand library is being announced today, but a quick check of the online service doesn’t yet show that the content has gone live.