Pluto TV starts curated category revamp for easier FAST navigation

Pluto TV, the Paramount Global-owned FAST service, is reorganizing its content categories with an eye towards easier navigation – while also introducing a brand campaign touting the company’s human-centric approach to curation.

Pluto TV’s first wave of new categories include Drama, Sci-Fi and True Crime, with additional categories in development. It’s the start of a broader recategorization that is slated to happen between now and early 2024. 

A key aim of reworking categories is a better user experience by consolidating content so that it’s an easier and smoother process to discovery. Recent Gracenote data shows discovery remains a challenge for consumers on streaming. The Nielsen-owned unit found viewers spend more than 10 minutes on average to sift through choices and 20% ditched their TV session altogether when they didn’t have a program in mind and couldn’t land on something by browsing.

Of the first three categories, Pluto TV said downstream viewing habits provided the jumping off point for programmers who created the categories based on consumption patterns that became apparent via a visual roadmap that provided greater understanding for how viewers are navigating the free ad-supported service.

“With the growth of the platform there are opportunities to better align the categories on our guide to help our users find the content they want to watch faster,” said Scott Reich, SVP Programming at Pluto TV, in a statement. “These changes are based on long-term user data trends and preparing for future content expansions as we continue to entertain the planet and drive viewing hours to new heights.”

And while data trends are providing the basis, Pluto is putting a strong emphasis on the human touch when it comes to programming with a new brand campaign that starts rolling out today, coinciding with the category revamp. The FAST market has quickly become crowded and increasingly competitive, with the likes of Roku, Fox’s Tubi, Amazon’s Freevee, Xumo, and smart TV maker FAST services from Samsung, LG, and Vizio, among others. And Pluto TV is seeking to show how it stands out and differentiates with new brand themes of Programmed By Humans and TV the Way it Should Be.

For the Programmed By Humans messaging, Pluto puts the human element front-and-center, as it has a dedicated and proprietary team of over 50 curators who use both personal expertise alongside audience behavior and insight technologies to program for the platform.

PlutoTV categories drama
Drama is one of Pluto TV's three new categories. (Pluto TV )

Three commercial spots will air, each highlighting a genre across sci-fi, romantic comedy and true crime. The campaign debuts today and runs through the rest of 2024, with spots airing on linear, CTV, digital, out-of-home, streaming audio, radio and social platforms. Pluto TV is also leveraging parent company Paramount Global to cross-promote the campaign across its linear, streaming and digital properties.

“When developing this campaign, we set out to connect with audiences in a meaningful way that captures the essence of Pluto TV and how transformative it has been to the world of television,” states Val Kaplan, Global SVP, Head of Consumer Marketing at Pluto TV, in a statement. “Our creative focus was to spotlight what sets Pluto TV apart in the increasingly competitive streaming market – the human element of curation that is intrinsic to the very human experience of watching television.”

It's not the first time Pluto TV has reworked categories to make finding content in a vast array of choices easier for viewers. Pluto made a changeup to its channel category lineup over a year ago, expanding the number for genres it said at the time were shown to be incredibly popular and generating demand for dedicated categories. Now it appears to be streamlining content categories with an eye toward consolidation.

Just recently Pluto TV introduced a new “Home” tab on the app to spotlight curated content and personalized recommendations, as well as recently watched, saved and favorited programming. The new Home features began a phased rollout on select Roku devices starting September 25, with an upgraded interface to launch on Android TV and Fire TV devices later this year.