Last week, streaming service Philo launched a skinny bundle with 37 channels for $16 a month. Backed by cable content providers A&E, AMC Networks, Discovery, Scripps Networks, and Viacom, Philo received $25 million in investments.
The business started as an internet TV service for college students, offering an on-campus TV solution that is still in service today. Philo CEO Andrew McCollum, also a Facebook co-founder, commented on his company’s beginning:
College was a great place to get started. It allowed us to reach the right demographic… Young people are really driving the change in TV, so creating a TV service that appealed to them, and worked for them was the right place to be.
Philo joins other streaming platforms like YouTube TV, Sling TV, PlayStation Vue, DirecTV Now, and Hulu Live TV. The service is cheaper than its competitors at $16 a month, offering both live and on demand content. There’s also a DVR feature, allowing you to save and watch shows for up to 30 days as well as pause live channels, start shows from the beginning, and watch anything that’s aired in the past three days. You can also stream different programming on up to three separate devices.
To further differentiate themselves, the Philo team is working on a social feature that will be available early next year. Users will be able to share what they’re watching and their favorite shows. You can invite friends and family to watch TV shows together, as well as some additional features.
The service targets a younger audience, mainly millennials and cord-nevers, who are looking for cheaper TV options and don’t necessarily watch live sports or news. To keep costs low, Philo opts for entertainment and lifestyle programming, without having to pay expensive fees for sports or broadcast content.
There are two package offerings: 37 channels for $16 and 46 channels for $20. Philo’s skinny bundle includes popular channels like AMC, Comedy Central, Food Network, HGTV, MTV, and other lifestyle/entertainment programming. But it does not offer broadcast channels such as ABC, CBS, NBC, or Fox (which you can get for free with an antenna anyway) or sports/news networks like ESPN, Fox News, or CNN.
At launch, you can stream on web browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Safari), Apple iPhone and iPad (running iOS 9 or newer), Android phones and tablets (running 5.0 or newer), and Roku. Compatibility with other devices is in the works, according to Philo’s FAQ.
Currently, Philo is offering a free 7 day trial to subscribers. To sign up for the free trial, users only need to enter their phone number.
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