Internet-video startup acquires German OTT service Quazer
Startup Pluto TV — which is trying to build the world’s biggest service for free TV and other video programming — announced that it has raised $30 million in Series B funding, led by German media giant ProSiebenSat.1 with participation from Scripps Networks Interactive, Sallfort PrivatBank and others.
As part of the investment, Pluto TV has acquired Quazer, a Berlin-based over-the-top video startup focused on non-fiction programming serving German-speaking markets, from ProSiebenSat.1.
“With this funding and the expansion into Europe, Pluto TV is uniquely positioned to become the global OTT destination for free television,” said Pluto TV CEO Tom Ryan in a statement.
Founded in 2013, Pluto TV says it now has more than 5 million monthly active users for its ad-supported service, which delivers curated content in cable-like channels. That’s up from 500,000 users in the first quarter of 2015, according to the company. Pluto TV has 75 content partners, including TV networks, movie studios, publishers and digital media companies.
The new funding values Pluto TV at $143 million. Existing investors U.S. Venture Partners, Sky, Luminari Capital, Chicago Ventures and Third Wave Capital Partners also participated in the latest round, and LionTree Partners also invested and served as a financial advisor to Pluto in the fundraising. In 2014, the company raised a $13 million Series A round led by USVP.
Quazer’s Berlin-based employees will join more than 50 Pluto TV staffers based in L.A., New York City and Silicon Valley. The Pluto TV management team includes executive chairman Ken Parks, formerly Spotify’s chief content officer, who joined the company last year.
Pluto TV’s service includes more than 100 channels with news, TV shows, movies, sports, live events, cartoons and digital series. The service is available on the web, for mobile devices and connected-TV devices including Roku, Apple TV, Android TV, Sony PlayStation and Microsoft Xbox.
Last year ProSieben, one of the largest independent media companies in Europe, acquired a controlling stake in digital studio Studio71 (formerly known as Collective Digital Studio) in an $83 million transaction.