Philo Launches a Sports-Free Lower Priced Skinny Bundle
Philo shows that when streaming services ditch sports channels, they really can drive prices down. The company launched a subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) service yesterday that offers 37 channels for $16 per month, or 46 channels for $20 per month. Subscribers are able to stream to three different devices at the same time, pull from an on-demand library, and store all the content they want with a 30-day unlimited DVR.
Channels in the base package include A&E, AMC, BBC America, Comedy Central, IFC, MTV, Food Network, History, Viceland, and more. Subscribers can watch any show that's aired in the past three days, pause live programs, and jump back to the program's start. The service is available on Roku, iOS devices, and web browsers, with additional platforms to come.
Two things subscribers won't find are broadcast and sports. That could be a smart move. While many people turn away from pay TV subscriptions because they don't want to pay for sports channels they never watch, other skinny bundles include sports in their basic lineups. When those services are combined with some mix of Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu, the monthly bill is around the same as pay TV.
Philo started in 2010 as a service providing streaming channels to universities. It's raised $25 million in funding from investors including A+E Networks, AMC Networks, Discovery, Scripps Networks, and Viacom.
The company plans to introduce social features that will let subscribers share their finds with friends and family, and watch shows together.
For two-thirds of sports fans, their devotion has a financial limit of $39 per month. Two-thirds refuse to pay more than that for content from their favorites teams.
Skinny bundles have made a lot of improvements in a short time, but until they can detail exactly what live sports they carry they aren't replacements for pay TV.
According to a survey by YouGov, sponsored by Phenix, nearly three-quarters of fans expect some sort of issue, whether buffering, delays, poor picture quality, or even complete service loss.
TiVo did the math and found that fewer than half of TV consumers could find a skinny bundle service that streams their favorite channels.
While few customers have adopted Sling TV, DirecTV Now, or similar services, user sentiment is strong among those who have.
While Sling has more customers, DirecTV Now subscribers stream more hours per month. ComScore sheds light on skinny bundle viewing.