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Sky-Backed Streaming Service Pluto TV Launching on Now TV in U.K. (EXCLUSIVE)

Pluto is extending its orbit to Europe. The free streaming service has set the U.K. as the first stop of an international roll-out and will become available via Sky’s Now TV service in Britain starting Monday evening. Sky was an early investor in Pluto.

Now TV is Sky’s low-cost streaming service. Pluto TV will be a free app for consumers with Now TV set-tops or smart sticks.

Olivier Jollet, Pluto TV’s managing director for Europe, told Variety that Pluto TV would complement the paid-for fare on Now TV. “Netflix is launching on Now TV as well and I think it’s interesting to bring Pluto to these kind of devices,” Jollet said. “[Consumers] want great original series, but there is room for all kinds of content and especially a more lean-back approach. We want to bring the lean-back into the OTT world.”

The channels and content on Pluto will span independent movies, sports and entertainment. Some, such as Pluto TV Movies, Sports, Explore, and Fight, will carry the Pluto brand. The movie selection includes British film “Vinyl” and Geoffrey Rush picture “Deception.” The sports lineup includes international kickboxing highlights. There will also be third-party channels such a round-the-clock service with “Mystery Science Theater 3000” content.

Pluto has a European office in Berlin and is planning further expansion internationally. The European team includes former Discovery executive Paul Edwards, who is partnerships director, and David Kwok, director of programming.

Jollet said it was leveraging its relationship with Sky for the U.K. launch, but that does not necessarily mean it will partner with the company in Italy, Germany or the other territories where it has a foothold. “Our ambition is to become a global player and the U.K. is the beginning of our international expansion,” Jollet said.

Sky has been making select investments in tech-focused companies and platforms, and bought into Pluto TV four years ago. Emma Lloyd, group director of business developments and partnerships at Sky, said: “I’m very excited the service is available for Now TV customers, giving them even more great content to watch, and I’m confident Pluto TV will see similar success in the U.K. as they have in the U.S.”

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