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Web Video Channel Guide PlutoTV Raises $13 Million

It's a hard category to crack. But people keep trying.

Peter Kafka covers media and technology, and their intersection, at Vox. Many of his stories can be found in his Kafka on Media newsletter, and he also hosts the Recode Media podcast.

Lots of people have tried to build TV guides for the Web-video era, and no one has succeeded so far.

But PlutoTV has convinced investors that it’s onto something. The company, which presents “channels” of Web video in a format that looks similar to a conventional TV guide, has raised a $13 million Series A round led by U.S. Venture Partners. Earlier investors, including satellite TV operator Sky, Chicago Ventures, Great Oaks Venture Capital and Luminari Capital are also back.*

As I’ve written before, I understand why Web video owners, distributors and advertisers want to make it easier to find and watch Web video. But I’m not sure this is a problem that bedevils Web video watchers, who are already watching a ton of Web video. Earlier this month we saw Fan TV, another company that tried to tackle the problem, throw in the towel, via a fire sale.

PlutoTV CEO Tom Ryan says his company has been encouraged by its growth since launching last spring. He won’t share metrics, but says that in general, “people are using it more like TV, instead of just Web video,” which is the company’s thesis.

Ryan also says that the service, which works on multiple devices and platforms, including iOS, Android and Amazon’s Fire TV, generates more engagement on bigger screens: “People are viewing it for longer periods of time as the screen size increases.”

PlutoTV is also announcing a new set of advisers: Former Yahoo CEO Ross Levinsohn, Spotify executive Ken Parks and King Digital COO Stephane Kurgan have all signed on.

* One of PlutoTV’s other investors is Terry Semel’s Windsor Media, which is also a minority investor in Revere Digital, which owns Re/code.

This article originally appeared on

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