Dec 02, 2019
By Nicole Bitette
The experts behind the platform’s niche channels.
On Pluto TV, you can take a journey through the European countryside via train without ever leaving your couch. You can discover a little-known indie movie from one of its many film channels. Or, you can binge Mystery Science Theater 3000 through all hours of the day.
If you’re lucky, like Nikki Grenoble, your Mystery Science Theater 3000 obsession could even land you a job programming some of the free streaming TV platform’s many channels. Grenoble schedules some of the platform’s niche channels.
Pluto TV, which was acquired by Viacom in January, offers more than 200 live channels and thousands of on-demand movies on an ad-supported platform. Some of the channels are genre-specific, with a focus on reality TV, news, or sports. Other channels are more program-specific, such as the ones dedicated to Minecraft and Doctor Who. Since Pluto TV became a Viacom company, channels featuring classic library content—like the Comedy Central Stand-Up, Cribs, and AwesomenessTV channels—populate the platform. And, ahead of the merger between Viacom and CBS, it recently added three CBS Interactive channels: ET Live, CBSN New York, and CBSN Los Angeles, adding to CBSN and CNET, which were already on the platform. It launched several holiday-themed channels recently, one of which is just video of a fireplace, as well as a Tween channel called Pluto TV Tween.
“Pluto TV literally has something for everyone. If you love wrestling, we have a fight channel. If you love cats and just want to watch cats doing cat things, we have a cat channel. And if you want to watch the news, we have a ton of providers that should satisfy liberals and conservatives alike,” says Brian Rodriguez, Pluto TV’s a.m. news editor.
To program these niche channels, Pluto TV hires experts. For example, it hired former mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter Andrew “The Squid” Montanez to figure out what content would live best on the platform’s MMA channel, and put a veteran reporter at the helm of its news channel. Viacom spoke with some of its in-house content curators to get an idea of how they work their curatorial magic.
"As a child actor, I found myself at an early age being interested in more than just the shows that were expected of kids my age, which gave me an extensive knowledge of television and film libraries."
"I'm an expert on the world of fighting because I've been in over 40 MMA fights."
Andrew "The Squid" Montanez
"It’s obvious [Pluto TV] provides a valuable service for cord-cutters and people who like to drop-in and have the 'cable' experience."
"As a kid growing up in a small town in the South, I had to go out and find the cool stuff I wanted to watch, praying it would come on a local channel...hopefully, I can show people out there some cool stuff that they wouldn’t have discovered unless they watch Pluto TV."