Start-up OTT television streaming service Pluto TV has raised $30 million (€22.7m) from investors including ProSiebenSat.1 and Scripps Networks Interactive to fund a European expansion. Other participants in the Series B round include Sallfort PrivatBank and existing investors US Venture Partners, Sky, Luminari Capital, Chicago Ventures, and Thirdwave Capital Partners.
The new funding gives Pluto TV a valuation of some $140 million — five times the company’s valuation since its first funding round in 2014. The platform is currently only available in the US on devices including Roku, Apple TV, and Amazon Fire, offering streamed shows across more than 100 channels.
In parallel with the funding round, Pluto TV has acquired Berlin-based Quazer from ProSieben, which specialises in non-fiction content in German-speaking markets.
“With this funding and the expansion into Europe, Pluto TV is uniquely positioned to become the global OTT destination for free television,” said CEO Tom Ryan.
“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 executive chairman Ken Parks.
ProSiebenSat.1 said it was investing a high single-digit-range in the company, acquiring about 14 per cent of shares, making the media group the largest strategic shareholder.
“The investment in Pluto TV represents a further logical step in our company’s digital entertainment strategy,” commented Christof Wahl, Executive Board Member for Digital Entertainment ProSiebenSat.1. “The market for this kind of advertising-financed video streaming already amounts to four billion euros in the USA alone. We would like to help actively shape this dynamically growing mass market on an international scale and participate in this growth.”
For the time being, the brand names Quazer and Pluto TV will remain in use in their respective markets. The corporate offices will also remain in Berlin and L.A. As part of the new partnership Quazer’s managing directors Olivier Jollet and Sören Ziems will join the management team of Pluto TV.
“With Quazer, we have demonstrated that we are capable of building a product and bringing it to market within just six months, a fact that attracted a great deal of interest on the part of this successful young American company. By working together, we will reach a global audience and will be able to offer advertising customers additional marketing opportunities,” added Wahl.
“We’ve always had the ambition of being the global OTT destination for free television. This partnership is a giant leap toward realizing that goal. Combining both media power and digital expertise, ProSiebenSat.1 is the ideal partner to accelerate our entrance into German-speaking markets. Additionally, the talented Berlin-based Quazer team will strengthen Pluto TV, speeding the pace of both product innovation and international expansion,” added Ryan
The investment in Pluto TV is one of a series of international investments and start-ups with an international orientation made by ProSiebenSat.1.