Samsung Venture Investment Corp. has joined a slew of other companies in backing an online television service called Pluto TV, according to the source. In fact, the company's investment of $5 million accounts for around 60-percent of the $8.3 million Pluto TV managed to gain during its most recent funding round. Other backers are said to have included Scripps Networks Interactive, Sky, ProSieben Sat, and others. However, Samsung's investment is intended to bolster the experience available with products from the company's other divisions, including its smartphone and television units. That's because the company is hoping to eventually package Pluto TV – which offers over 100 live television channels across news, sports, and entertainment categories – with its other products.
The move to incorporate value-added services into existing platforms is not an anomaly in the mobile industry, either. It follows a much wider trend, with many in the industry choosing to enter into investment terms or partnerships with media providers in order to expand on their current revenue streams. However, most of those deals have been between carriers and providers, specifically, rather than between manufacturers and the latter. Interestingly, any deal with Pluto TV would be unique in that the service is both ad-supported and free-to-use. So it won't necessarily require Samsung to pay large licensing fees in addition to the initial investment. That could be a point of stark contrast as compared to T-Mobile's recent partnership with Netflix.
Bearing that in mind, Samsung doesn't have a whole lot to lose in making the investment if it can form a partnership for offering content through Pluto TV. That is true for as long as offering the service can help Samsung move more of its mobile devices and connected televisions. For Pluto TV, the deal also makes quite a bit of sense. If the service appears on prominent smartphones, tablets, and TV sets made by Samsung, that could bring a significant increase to its current number of subscribers. At last report, Pluto TV boasted 6 million subscribers, while Samsung has shipped millions of its Galaxy S8 devices alone. Only a fraction of those consumers would need to subscribe to Pluto TV in order for a deal to have an enormous impact on the company.