EXCLUSIVE: Paramount Global’s free streaming outlet Pluto TV has just completed a refresh of its brand and will be taking its first bow during the company’s Super Bowl broadcast on CBS, Nickelodeon and Paramount+.
The impetus for the move, insiders tell Deadline, is to position Pluto as the progenitor of free, ad-supported streaming television, or FAST. It also coincides with the 10th anniversary of Pluto’s debut as a beta website in March 2014. (Streaming, as we know it today, would come a bit later.)
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The FAST category has mushroomed from humble beginnings into a multi-billion-dollar revenue generator, with an estimated 1,500 total channels jockeying for attention across the sector. Given Pluto’s foundational role in launching FAST, Paramount is looking to give it a boost with an ad slot during the Big Game broadcast on February 11.
Internally, Pluto is being described as moving into its third act, with the first two being its emergence as a startup and its 2019 acquisition by Viacom. Operating in more than 35 global markets, the service passed the $1 billion annual revenue mark in 2021 and has been a linchpin in Paramount’s overall streaming strategy.
The brand refresh supervised by the design firm Gretel includes a new logo, font, and motion graphics, all aimed at presenting a “bold and simple” look with cleaner visuals and a brighter palette. In one detail of interest to streaming industry and classic-Hollywood obsessives, the new font is tilted at a 22-degree angle. The number 22 is significant for Paramount, as its film studio’s longtime mountain logo features 22 stars, representing the number of actors the 112-year-old studio once had under contract.
Content discovery — a pain point with consumers and a buzz phrase in the world of streaming product design — is also an element of the new branding for Pluto. The proposition of the new image is to help viewers “find their orbit” on Pluto, which relies on familiar, lean-back features like an on-screen programming guide and a reliance on live, linear channels as opposed to on-demand fare. (Fox Corp.’s rival, Tubi is weighted toward AVOD as opposed to FAST.)
“We know from our research that more often than not, audiences come to Pluto because they want to feel a certain way. It provides a sense of ease and comfort among an overwhelming number of streaming and content choices,” said Valerie Kaplan, Global SVP, Head of Consumer Marketing, Pluto TV. “Our refreshed brand identity and design system brings to life that promise to our consumers that Pluto provides a world of premium entertainment that orbits around you. And it does so in a bold, modern way that is unique, recognizable, and memorable… something that can stand out from the crowd in an increasingly competitive category.”
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