Streaming services such as Netflix increasingly rely on artificial intelligence and algorithms to come up with suggestions for what you want to watch. With the mainstream adoption of AI, some are even touting it as a competitive edge. But Pluto TV is leaning on the human element to set itself apart.
The free, ad-supported streaming service focused on human curation in its fall advertising campaign, a deliberate approach to setting itself apart from an increasingly crowded pack. Its three commercial spots feature a true-crime expert, a Star Trek cosplayer, and a rom-com fanatic — characters that the company told Marketing Brew were inspired by the more than 50 programmers who choose which shows and movies run on Pluto TV.
“Part of the reason the human experience of watching Pluto is so authentic is because we have a very human element to our programming,” Val Kaplan, Pluto TV’s global senior vice president of consumer marketing, said in an interview with Marketing Brew. “Of course we leverage data, we leverage AI and machine learning and all of that, but [the campaign] is really meant to enhance the human creativity and real-life fans who make our programming and our experience what it is.”
The campaign comes amid a rise in interest in free, ad-supported streaming services which emulate the cable TV experience, but over the internet and with more customized channels (think channels dedicated to The Amazing Race or Star Trek). Pluto TV is one of the leaders in this area, which has gained momentum over the last few years as subscription services continue to raise rates and, in some cases, remove beloved content.
Pluto TV, which is owned by Paramount, is a leader among streamers overall, ranking No. 7 among services in November, according to Nielsen. It’s category typically led by YouTube and Netflix, with the rest a mix of Hulu, Amazon Prime Video and other services. Last month, Pluto TV outperformed its subscription streaming sibling, Paramount+.
Kaplan told Marketing Brew that Pluto TV wanted to stand out from the crowd given the momentum of streaming, and do it using the human element.