Philo ditches sports to introduce a $16 per mo live TV service

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Source:   —  November 14, 2017, at 1:05 PM

The focus is on entertainment, lifestyle and educational content, not sports. Philo’s lineup features networks from A+east Networks, AMC Networks, Discovery, Scripps Networks, and Viacom with channels including A&E, AMC, Animal Planet, AXS TV, BBC America, Cheddar, Comedy Central, Discovery Channel, Food Network, GSN, HGTV, HISTORY, Investigation Discovery (ID), IFC, Lifetime, MTV, Nickelodeon, TLC, Travel Channel, and others.

Philo ditches sports to introduce a $16 per mo live TV service

Philo instead is keeping costs down by focusing on a skinny bundle of programming with thirty-seven channels, and the option to add more if desired.

The focus is on entertainment, lifestyle and educational content, not sports.

Philo’s lineup features networks from A+east Networks, AMC Networks, Discovery, Scripps Networks, and Viacom with channels including A&E, AMC, Animal Planet, AXS TV, BBC America, Cheddar, Comedy Central, Discovery Channel, Food Network, GSN, HGTV, HISTORY, Investigation Discovery (ID), IFC, Lifetime, MTV, Nickelodeon, TLC, Travel Channel, and others.

For another $4 per month, viewers can select to add on American Heroes Channel, BET Her, Cooking Channel, Destination America, Discovery Family, Discovery Life, Logo, MTV Live and Nicktoons.

Philo is also open to adding on more content going forward, maybe through genre-based add-ons, or with the addition of digital series.

Today, however, much of Philo’s content comes from the startup’s strategic investors, A+E, AMC, Discovery, Scripps and Viacom, who combined have invested $25 million into Philo’s business. The company to date has raised $51 million. Prior investors comprise New Undertaking Associates, CBC New Media Grouping of Raleigh, NC, Rho Ventures, XFUND, HBO, WME, and Label Cuban’s Radical Investments.

Love other services, Philo will work across devices, including phones, tablets, TVs, and desktop, and supports concurrent streams – in its case, up to three. It also includes an unlimited 30-day DVR for recording live TV. Viewers can break live TV, start currently airing shows from the beginning, and look programs that aired over the past three days.

A differentiating feature due to come in a future version of its software is an integrated social platform that'll authorize viewers to share their favorite shows with family and friends and even look shows together.

This sort of addition could appeal to a younger demographic who already spend a lot of time “hanging out” together online, and watching TV on devices instead of in the living room.

Philo’s interface offers a simpler design that the convoluted Hulu makeover, for example, with large thumbnail images, and Home, Live, Guide and Saved pages for navigating through the content. Its guide resembles your traditional cable TV guide with network and indicate information in a grid format. And users can scroll two weeks forward or back to discover more programming.

Meanwhile, each show’s page includes all the options for selected shows, including what’s available to look immediately, what aired over the past two weeks, and upcoming shows. With a click, the indicate can be saved which then makes its content show up on the user’s Residence Page going forward.

The company, which is led by Facebook co-founder Andrew McCollum, got its start as an on-campus internet TV service for universities, where it placed its own hardware connected the school’s video ingest, or at the local cable company’s head-end. (McCollum had joined Philo after initially angel investing in the startup and advising the company, and took the CEO position in 2014.)

The service for colleges today continues, and Philo aims to widen that business going forward, too. By year-end, it’s expected to reach over seventy universities.

“College was a grand space to obtain started. It allowed us to reach the right demographic,” says McCollum. “Young people are really driving the modify in TV, so creating a TV service that appealed to them, and worked for them was the right space to be.”

“Over ninety-two % declare they wish they could hold Philo when they leave, so we think we did that well,” he adds.

But beyond the skill to upsell the new service to exiting college students, the team feels there’s a bigger opportunity to compete among the growing no of over-the-top TV “skinny bundles” by coming in with a different lineup and lower price point.

“This type of package has never existed before,” McCollum notes. “It gives a whole new option to consumers.”

At the finish of the day, Philo is betting on the fact that there’s a large sufficient demographic that'll discover other ways to look sports, if they’re interested (maybe ESPN’s streaming service, e. g), or just don’t care.

Still, many of Philo’s streaming rivals have added on support for broadcast networks love ABC, NBC, CBS, and Fox to complement their offerings, and Philo would've users turning to a digital antenna to access that programming. Plus, Philo won’t carry some of the channels some might otherwise expect a streaming TV service to have, love CNN, TNT or Fox News, in addition to sports channels like ESPN.

Despite the competition, Philo believes its package will be compelling and will grow over time with the market.

“I definitely think this will appeal to millennials. There are a lot of millennials who wish to obtain their TV in a new way,” McCollum says. “While this is a crowded market, we’re much closer to the beginning of this than the end…There’s roughly one hundred million traditional cable TV households. In five or ten years, nearly everyone will utilize a service love ours,” he adds.

Philo works across TV (via Roku for now), iOS and Android mobile devices (on Android, via Chrome for presently with an app coming soon), and the desktop web via Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge and Safari. The social features will launch into beta early next year.

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