Hulu has reached a distribution deal with Pluto TV, a startup whose service repackages online video into a TV-like programming grid, covering nearly all of Hulu’s free television and movie content.
Under the pact, Pluto TV has access to everything Hulu makes available on its free, ad-supported website. That includes current-season broadcast fare from ABC, NBC and Fox such as episodes of “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” (pictured above), “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and “Saturday Night Live”; older TV shows like “Seinfeld,” “Cheers,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Happy Days”; and anime and cartoon shows.
Just as Hulu makes free content available only on the Web — with only subscribers to its $7.99-per-month service having access to content on other connected devices — Pluto TV will make Hulu’s free content available only via its website. Pluto TV’s other channels are available on multiple platforms, including iOS and Android mobile devices, Amazon’s Fire TV and Fire TV Stick, Android TV devices, Google’s Chromecast, to Apple TV via Apple AirPlay and Samsung Smart TVs.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Pluto TV CEO Tom Ryan said Hulu will be serving up the ads for the content.
In addition to Hulu, Pluto TV has recently struck deals with a half-dozen other content partners to distribute their programming: Shout! Factory, Jukin Media, Devin SuperTramp, Multicom, Around the World in 4K and Amazing Places on Our Planet. Previously announced partners include AOL and Endemol.
For Hulu and Pluto TV’s other content suppliers, the pacts promise to broaden their reach — but it’s not clear exactly by how much. Ryan declined to reveal how many people are actively using the startup’s video service, except to say that the company is delivering “millions of video views” per day.
The idea behind Pluto TV, which last year launched the service with more than 100 curated channels, is to present Internet video in a menu that looks like a traditional cable TV guide. With many of its “linear” channels, Pluto strings together video segments presented in a continuous, TV-like stream — the theory being that it gives users interested, say, ’70s TV shows, latenight television or “cats 24/7” a familiar way to discover and watch new content.
With Hulu, Pluto TV is launching more than a dozen dedicated channels. Those include Late Night Catch-Up (full episodes and clips from “Tonight Show,” “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” “The Daily Show,” “The Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore”); ’90s TV Shows (“90210,” “Twin Peaks,” “7th Heaven”); ’80s TV Shows (“Cheers,” “Alf,” “Quantum Leap”); ’70s TV Shows (“Happy Days,” “The Brady Bunch,” “Mork & Mindy,” “Taxi”); or Joss Whedon Shows (“Buffy,” “Angel” and “Firefly”).
In addition, Pluto has channels with select episodes of “SNL,” “South Park,” “Seinfeld,” “I Love Lucy” and “The Twilight Zone.”
With Jukin Media, Pluto TV has added channel for “FailArmy,” which has some 7.8 million fans on YouTube, featuring pranks and “fails of the week.” The startup’s new Classic TV channel includes shows supplied by Shout! Factory, Multicom and others, including “Father Knows Best,” “Dennis the Menace,” “Route 66” and “The Saint.”
Pluto also launched a 4K TV channel with content from YouTube daredevil Devin SuperTramp, Around the World in 4K and Amazing Places on Our Planet.
“These partners allow our team of curators even more traditional TV shows, movies and digital-video favorites to deepen the entertainment experience across the platform,” Ryan said. “Entertainment happens when you make all of this content play seamlessly in the living room, at your fingertips and on the go.”
Founded in 2013, the L.A.-based company has raised about $13 million from U.S. Venture Partners (USVP), UTA, Sky (formerly BSkyB), Chicago Ventures, Great Oaks Venture Capital, Luminari Capital, Terry Semel’s Windsor Media, Pritzker Group and angel investors.
Hulu is owned by Disney, 21st Century Fox and Comcast’s NBCUniversal.
Correction: Hulu and Pluto TV previously said episodes of “Star Trek” were available to Pluto TV under the pact; in fact, Hulu does not have rights to distribute the series through partners.