Samsung Moves to Invest in Online TV
Samsung Venture Investment Corporation, a unit of the South Korean company, is making a $5 million investment in Los-Angeles based Pluto TV, the companies has said. Other unnamed investors added $3.3 million more to the funding round.
Pluto TV is one of the biggest ad-supported online TV channel distributors, with about 6 million subscribers. It distributes more than 100 live TV channels from news and sports to cooking and kids’ cartoons channels.
The investment is intended to help Samsung package a TV service with its other products, which include phones and TV sets.
Phone companies are increasingly tightening their connections with content companies. Sprint, for instance, took a 33 percent stake in the streaming music service Tidal earlier this year. AT&T is close to finalizing its acquisition of HBO owner Time Warner, while T-Mobile announced last month that it would package Netflix free for subscribers of its unlimited family plan.
Jihong Kim, senior investment manager with Samsung Venture Investment Corporation said “Pluto TV is the leading free Internet TV service in America and we see huge potential for the company as they scale their cutting edge offering to viewers around the world,”
Pluto TV is led by Chief Executive Tom Ryan and Executive Chairman Ken Parks, the former chief content officer at the music service Spotify.
The company is backed by several investors, including Scripps Networks Interactive, which is being acquired by Discovery Communications; Sky; Germany’s ProSieben Sat; and a host of others. Other content partners include The Onion, Bloomberg and NBC Universal
In a another development, Samsung Electronics chief executive Kwon Oh-hyun has resigned citing an “unprecedented crisis”.
It is the latest management upheaval at the firm after the heir of the entire Samsung Group was imprisoned for corruption in August. His resignation comes on the same day the firm forecast record quarterly profits, citing higher memory chip prices.
Mr Kwon added that he had been thinking about his departure “for quite some time” and could “no longer put it off.”
“As we are confronted with unprecedented crisis inside out, I believe that time has now come for the company [to] start anew, with a new spirit and young leadership to better respond to challenges arising from the rapidly changing IT industry,” he said in a statement.
However, Mr Kwon will remain on the board of Samsung Electronics until March 2018.