We have discussed many times that appointment television is likely coming to an end. With services like Netflix and Hulu, the idea of waiting for a specific time to watch a television show or movie is becoming more and more ridiculous to many. If you're like me, though, there is a problem with streaming services: it takes way too long to get going. Once you launch the website or application it seems like quite a chore to find content you're interested in.
That has certainly been one of the benefits of traditional television for as long as it has existed. As soon as you turn it on, there is content going, whether it is something you want to watch or not. At least it comes back to where you left it, meaning it is likely there is something interesting to watch. Why can't streaming media be more like traditional television in that way?
The creators of a new streaming service, Pluto TV, seem to have the same problem as I have, as their service is designed to solve exactly this problem. Like a cable box, when you launch the app or website, content from your last channel begins playing immediately. Below the content is a channel listing, whose interface is based on one of the best cable box experiences ever. You can scroll through channels with timed listings for programming.
The content is broken into categories such as sports, entertainment, comedy, kids, news, tech, etc. Currently all of the content comes from publicly available streams like Funny or Die, FailArmy, Bloomberg, TBS and more. The service is currently free and ad-supported, though ads are infrequent at best. In the time I have spent watching content on the site, the only ads I really encountered were for the platform itself. Some content, however, does have traditional provider ads.
For example, the Seinfeld channel, which appears to be TBS-powered, runs ads for TBS itself. Personally I am a big fan of standup comedy, so I have been watching the standup channel, and have seen almost no advertisements. It is certainly an interesting platform with a lot of potential. I would like to see them partner with someone like Hulu or NBC and offer their content in a different, more curated scenario.