Spotify’s Content Chief Moves to Online Video Start-Up Pluto TV
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- Agosto 5º, 2015
Spotify is losing a top executive to Pluto TV, a start-up in the fragmented and competitive world of online video.
Ken Parks, Spotify’s chief content officer and one of its longest-serving executives, will become Pluto TV’s executive chairman in October, the online video start-up plans to announce on Wednesday. While Mr. Parks will resign his position at Spotify, he is to remain an adviser to Daniel Ek, Spotify’s chief executive.
Compared with Spotify, the streaming service that has become one of the biggest and most influential companies in online music, Pluto TV is on the opposite end of the start-up scale. The company began in Los Angeles just over a year ago and aims to be a free Internet television service, bundling content from various online video platforms like YouTube and Hulu.
Pluto TV offers videos from traditional media companies as well as the sort of bite-size content that tends to catch fire online — the service has an entire channel devoted to cat videos, for example.
“We’re looking to take the work out of watching video and just let them lean back and be entertained,” Tom Ryan, Pluto TV’s chief executive, said in an interview.
Pluto TV has raised $13 million from investors including U.S. Venture Partners. But the company faces stiff competition from companies like HBO, Showtime and Dish, all of which offer subscription versions of their content for web and mobile apps, which do not require a cable TV plan.
Mr. Parks, a former music industry lawyer who was Spotify’s first employee in the United States, has been one of the streaming service’s primary negotiators in dealing with the music industry, a complex and sometimes contentious role. Mr. Ryan said that Mr. Parks, after joining Pluto TV, would also oversee the start-up’s deals with the media companies and other outlets that provide its videos.
“I believe Pluto TV has an enormous opportunity to define the future of television and online video,” Mr. Parks said in a statement furnished by Pluto TV. “The timing is perfect for Pluto TV to reach massive global scale and become one of the premier consumer video platforms in the world.”
A spokesman for Spotify declined to comment. Mr. Parks’s replacement as chief content officer will be Stefan Blom, the company’s chief strategy officer.
Spotify’s vision of a music marketplace transformed by streaming has started to take effect. Spotify, which went online in 2008, has 75 million users around the world, 20 million of whom pay for subscriptions. Its most formidable competitor arrived in June, when Apple made its long-awaited entrance into the market for streaming by subscription with its service, Apple Music.
Spotify, which has raised more than $1 billion in financing and was most recently valued at about $8.5 billion by its investors, has also been the subject of regular speculation about whether it will go public.
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