My First Commercial
Today, Pluto.tv was officially launched. I am proud to be an early advisor and investor in this company. Those of you that read my blog frequently will know that I have been following and in some cases participating in the restructuring of the medium we call TV. I am pretty excited and decided to give it a plug on my blog. Please think of this post as an infomercial because it kind of is.
First start with the teaser:
A revolution in TV that started over twenty years ago
In 1992, when I began to work on residential broadband starting with the development of the Cable Modem, I realized that the combination of powerful home computers coupled to a high-speed always on connection to the Internet would result in a new medium for communications, commerce, education and entertainment.
Back then, the only computer in the home was a PC. We did not yet have smart phones, tablets and powerful set-top boxes. I was watching developments at the Intel Architecture Lab. In the early 90s, PCs began to be able to play back video in real-time without special chips. We called that Native Signal Processing. By 1998, the labs were demonstrating the ability to encode video in real-time. It was then that I realized that the TV industry was about to turn on its head, albeit slowly.
Enter the DVR
At that time, I was on the board of King World Productions which was the largest syndicators of TV content. We distributed such shows as Oprah and Wheel of Fortune. I thought that the technology I was witnessing in the lab would allow devices to be built that would provide for the ability to Time Shift Television Programing. I knew about Replay and Tivo, the first DVR companies. Both of which launched their companies in 1999. I was pretty sure that the DVR would also allow TV advertising to be skipped. So I recommended to the Board of King Word that we sell the company, which we did, to CBS. That was 15 years ago.
The beginning of self published TV
I left Intel in 1999 and joined a number of boards. One of which was CMGI. We started a business called iCast which was the brain child of the CEO of CMGI, Dave Wetherell. iCast was Youtube but just five years too early. But it helped me to understand the power of user-created content.
Over the last 15 years we have seen more and more video content on the Internet. Much of it is just regular video programing repurposed. You get a video clip here and a video clip there. We have also seen the use of the Internet to augment Video on Demand. So now we have applications like HBO GO.
Cut the Cord
We have also seen the growth in what is called Cord Cutters. These are people, mostly young people, who have decided that they no longer need a subscription to cable TV. They might not even have TVs but they certainly watch TV. They just do it over the internet and use one of their devices as the display.
How long is your format?
I would say that up until today’s announcement of Pluto.TV, there have been two kinds of applications of the Internet for Television. One is a transport for more traditional TV programing. In addition to HBO GO we of course have Netflix which one could think of as being an Internet Cable Company offering traditional programing via the Internet. The other use, is short format TV. Examples of this abound with the most prominent being YouTube. I like Shelby.tv myself. Short Form TV is fun and a good way to kill a few minutes but if you want to lay back and relax you probably turn to traditional TV, even if it is delivered over the internet via some device.
However, there is a lot of great long form TV that is Internet only. Examples of that would be TED. Sites like TED even come with Applications so you can easily select programing on you phone or tablet. Smart Set Top Boxes like Apple TV or even Smart TV’s may allow you to connect directly to a large screen and lay back on you sofa and watch. But these sites only represent a fraction of the long form content on the internet. Much of the really great content has to be discovered. So we sometimes get links sent to us by a friends or embedded in some electronic newsletter, like Huffington Post. But then we often forget about this content and can not find it again. Frankly, it’s a lot of work.
The Role of Pluto.tv
So what is the role of Pluto.tv? It provides much of the same experience one would get by watching cable TV, but the content is from the internet. Pluto has editors that curate by subject. You can browse channels much as you do if you are watching cable TV. But you can go deeper. You can have not just one cooking channel but many. And not only can you send a link to a friend about a program but you can synchronize and watch the program together but from different locations.
You can watch on any device and if you want to put it on a big screen, you can use AppleTV or Chromecast. Please give it a try and let me know what you think.
PLUTO.TV OFFERS A NEW WAY TO EXPERIENCE
THE MOST ENTERTAINING ONLINE VIDEO CONTENT
Free Video Platform Brings the Best of the Web to Viewers
With Nearly 100 Curated Channels Available on Any Device
LOS ANGELES, March 31, 2014 – Pluto.TV announced today the launch of its video platform that allows viewers to watch the most entertaining online and traditional content in one place. Pluto.TV curates and continually streams content around areas of passion including music, sports, news, entertainment, comedy, lifestyle, technology, art & culture, education, and kids, so viewers no longer have to search for it.
At launch, Pluto.TV will offer nearly 100 channels, featuring a wide variety of content programmed to specific interests like hip-hop, snow, surf, food, health and fitness, travel, sketch comedy, and many more. Pluto.TV is also partnering with some of the most popular content creators from the web and well-known television programs to create individual channels, including Funny or Die, QVC, Refinery29, RocketJump, The Young Turks, and more.
Pluto.TV is live and available for free on any device, 24 hours/day, so viewers can start watching on their laptop at home or in the office and move to a mobile device with no interruptions. Users can also share content on social networks and chat live while watching Pluto.TV. Pluto.TV features include:
- Curated channels: Pluto.TV hand picks the best video content across a multitude of interests and passions.
- Intuitive channel guide: The Pluto.TV guide helps viewers navigate everything there is to watch. Select channels and programs in an easy to use and familiar interface. From the home screen, viewers can see the programming schedule breakdown, find what’s coming up, and read through descriptions to help decide what to watch first.
- Personalization: Users can create a personal “favorites” list by adding a “star” to favorite channels and programs for easy and immediate access to preferred channels.
- DVR: If viewers like what they see, they can rewind, pause or fast-forward the content.
- Multi-platform: The Pluto.TV mobile app is available for both tablets and smart phones on iOS and Android. Pluto.TV is available for free at www.pluto.tv and in the App Store and Android Market starting today.
- Social features: Pluto.TV is built for sharing with social features like live chat that allow users to talk with friends and family in real time as they watch, as well as share what shows they’re into by notifying their friends. Users also can invite friends to watch or share through social media.
“Pluto.TV is revolutionizing the way people enjoy video content online,” said Pluto.TV co-founder and chairman Nick Grouf. “We’re making the process of discovering new content seamless by delivering free programming around areas of interest anytime, anywhere. Pluto.TV has done the heavy lifting for you, so you can sit back, watch, and enjoy.”
“Pluto.TV provides premium content and the best entertainment for our viewers, from traditional TV favorites like sports highlights, breaking news, and comedy to engaging content like educational talks, Funny or Die videos and the hottest music online,” said Pluto.TV co-founder Tom Ryan. “Whether viewers are watching the latest runway show from Milan or the coolest skating tricks, Pluto.TV helps them discover that content in a way that’s easy, engaging, and fun.”
Pluto.TV was co-founded by seasoned entrepreneurs Nick Grouf, Ilya Pozin and Tom Ryan in 2013. The company’s investors and advisors include Terry Semel’s Windsor Media; Jeremy Zimmer, CEO,UTA; Avram Miller, founder, Intel Capital; Mich Mathews, former CMO, Microsoft; Chris Silbermann, president and partner, ICM; Greg Steiner, COO, Beachmint and former COO, eHarmony; Nas & Anthony Saleh’s Queensbridge Venture Partners; Great Oaks Venture Capital; Dennis Phelps, general partner, Institutional Venture Partners; Jonathan Nelson, CEO Omnicom Digital, Omnicom Group Inc.; Tom Whalley, former CEO, Warner Bros. Records and co-founder, Interscope Records; Jamie Tarses, former president, ABC Entertainment; Brent Weinstein, head of digital media, UTA; David Waxman, managing partner, TenOneTen Ventures; and Jeremy Welt, SVP marketing, Maker Studios.
Pluto.TV is an online video platform that offers a new way to experience the most entertaining and engaging content on the web. Viewers can experience continuous programming around areas of passion for free, and available 24/7. With nearly 100 channels organized into popular common interest categories like Music, Sports, News, Entertainment, Comedy, Lifestyle, Tech, Art & Culture, Education, and Kids, Pluto.TV is for everyone who enjoys being entertained. Pluto.TV is headquartered in Los Angeles.
very similar to our existing service WatzOn.TV except we have over 9000 channels now and we don’t break the license agreement allowed with youtube content, best of luck.
let me know when you have it working with roku
The CEO’s last venture, Spot Runner, was also quite a press phenom at the time – but stories about the company culture and the comments from the employee base as the company underwent a great deal of turmoil make for a fascinating read concerning Grouf – from their admittedly disgruntled perspective:
This is excellent, I’m very impressed. I’ve enjoyed Frequency.com and StumbleUpon, and online video occupies more of my viewing time these days than broadcast TV. Pluto.tv is right up my alley and I appreciate how it’s curated and automatic. Kudos and thanks, I’ll be spreading the word.