Plex confirms plan to launch TV and movie rentals next month | TechCrunch


Media streamer Plex has raised new capital. The company, which began as a media organization startup, has morphed over the years to become a one-stop shop for all your media, including ad-supported streaming, which now accounts for much of its revenue growth. The new round, which has not yet been disclosed, was initially said to be larger than Plex’s $50 million growth round closed a few years ago, but we now understand it’s $40 million, a rep for Plex has confirmed. The funds will help fuel the company’s push toward profitability, expected by year-end or just after.

Plex CEO Keith Valory confirmed the round closed this month, but was unable to disclose Plex’s new valuation. While he joked that he likes to think of himself as a unicorn, Plex’s real-world valuation is unknown as the company hasn’t raised outside funds in some time, preferring instead to work with its existing set of investors.

The same holds true for Plex’s new investment, as it’s an inside round that includes existing Series C investors — lead investor Intercap and Kleiner Perkins. (Technically, it’s Plex’s Series C-3, if you’re counting.) The size of the round will later be disclosed through securities filings.

“We have the most supportive investors of any,” Valory said. “I feel like funding has never been a concern of ours,” he added.

The fundraising follows a number of changes to Plex’s core product over the years, which has transformed itself from a software platform used by consumers for organizing their home media collections to one that has multiple facets. Today, Plex users can watch free, ad-supported shows and movies, listen to music, stream live TV channels or their own media, and more, including the discovery of new things to watch. Recently, the company has been developing social features, as well, allowing Plex users to opt into a feature that tracks their viewing and shares it with friends.

This feature will be further developed over the course of the year. Plex says it aims to expand the community capabilities for both the content owners and for users through the use of public pages that will offer content owners a bigger stake in the conversations that take place around their movies and shows.

Another planned feature, announced at CES, is the forthcoming launch of Plex’s TVOD marketplace — an online storefront that will allow users to rent shows and movies from top studios.

To date, however, it’s Plex’s ad-supported streaming that’s been helping Plex grow its revenue. Though Plex was impacted by the market downturn, leading to layoffs, Plex’s ad revenue grew by nearly 45% in 2023 and the overall business grew by 30%, the company tells us. Engagement and usage have been growing as well. The company is still on track to be profitable by the end of 2024 or early next year, Valory noted.

“We’re a leader in this market. And we’re in, at least, the top five if not higher in this space, and we feel like we’re doing really, really well,” he said.

As a result of Plex’s ability to track users’ media discovery behavior and consumption across platforms and services, the company has a unique perspective from a data standpoint. That will be the focus of its future business initiatives, too.

“One of the things we’ve already started to prove in 2023 is that we can absolutely monetize some of that data…in a very privacy-friendly way. There’s no personally identifiable information being used,” Valory said. “We already proved we could make money on that this year, so, in 2024, we’re putting more wood behind that arrow. And arguably, even though our current business is already growing 30%-40% per year, that could dwarf it in two to three years. That is a really big market opportunity,” he added.

1/249/24, 7:10 pm et: Updated with round size; round size confirmed by Plex



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