ProSiebenSat.1 Group has invested a “high single-digit-range” into LA-based online video aggregator Pluto.TV.
The German-based media company has acquired approximately 14% of shares in Pluto, making ProSiebenSat.1 the largest strategic shareholder.
Scripps Networks Interactive is another new partner that will acquire an interest in Pluto during the current round of financing, alongside current investors U.S. Venture Partners and Sky Ventures, which previously invested US$500,000 in October 2014.
Other backers include United Talent Agency and Great Oaks Venture Capital, among others.
Pluto TV was founded in 2013 by CEO Tom Ryan and chief growth officer Ilya Pozin. The free Internet TV service offers more than 100 channels of content covering a raft of genres, including documentary, lifestyle, news, entertainment, education, sports and music.
The digital aggregator currently has partnerships with more than 100 content providers, including Bloomberg Television, Reuters, CBS, Paramount, and Time Inc. The company claims a reach of more than five million active users per month.
Under the deal, Pluto will acquire ProSiebenSat.1′s video streaming service Quazer, which offers more than 60 special-interest channels.
Quazer MDs Olivier Jollet and Sören Ziems will now join Pluto’s management team.
The investment in Pluto TV follows a wave of strategic investments and start-ups recently made by ProSiebenSat.1. The Munich media group internalized multi-channel network Studio71 in July 2015, while offshoot prodco Red Arrow Entertainment Group launched digital media producer Ripple Entertainment last October.
“The investment in Pluto TV represents a further logical step in our company’s digital entertainment strategy,” said Christof Wahl (pictured), executive board member for digital entertainment at ProSiebenSat.1, in a statement. “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.”