The various “skinny bundles” that have popped up over the past year are all searching for their own ways to stand out for the pack. YouTube TV, for example, touts its unlimited DVR, while Hulu’s live TV service boasts an impressive lineup of channels.
For Philo, a new entrant into that space, the pitch is simple: We cost half as much as the other guys, and we offer almost as many channels as they do. A basic Philo subscription is only $16 per month, compared to $35/month for YouTube TV and $40/month for Hulu. To support that cost-effective model, Philo features no sports channels, which are staples of other services.
Philo joins the skinny bundle market with the support of five major media companies: A+E Networks, AMC Networks, Discovery, Scripps Networks, and Viacom. Those power players have imbued a reported $25 million into Philo’s business, and in return, their channels are available among its lineup. In total, Philo subscribers will gain access to 37 channels, including offerings like Comedy Central and MTV that are relatively rare among skinny bundle packages. For an additional $4, eight more feeds are unlocked, including Logo.
By omitting sports channels, Philo is adopting a strategy that runs counter to those pushed by other skinny bundles. YouTube TV ran a massive ad campaign during the World Series precisely because it wanted consumers to know about all the sports channels it offers. Philo, on the other hand, is telling potential subscribers that if they have any interest in channels like ESPN or FS1, they don’t need to pay the premium sports fans accept.
There is a significant drawback to Philo’s pitch, which is that it has no contracts with any media companies that own sports channels. That means none of the big four networks, no FX, no Disney Channel, no Turner, and no Bravo, among several other notable omissions. Thanks to the status of its backers, Philo can still put together strong roster, but potential subscribers will want to peruse the service’s channels before they jump on its reduced price.