Philo Enters Crowded OTT Field

The big news today is the rollout of Philo, a streaming TV service bundling 37 channels for $16/month or 46 for $20/month. Several reports on the new service point out that it has no sports channels and is therefore targeted to viewers who don’t care about sports.

That certainly is a skinny bundle, so skinny that it’s missing plenty besides sports. As Alex Weprin wrote at MediaPost, “Philo will not have programming from NBCUniversal, Disney, CBS, Turner or Fox, … in part because of their extensive sports programming.” So the premium Turner demands for baseball coverage on TBS meant that Philo couldn’t include CNN or Turner Classic Movies? FS1’s price meant no Fox News or FX?

It’s a truism that every person has favorite channels and thinks that the others are trash, but just look at that lineup. Will BBC World News and Cheddar provide enough news? Are there enough movies in that mix? Compare it to Sling Orange for $20/month including commercial-free movies, more news channels, and plenty of sports that you are free to ignore.

Philo reminds me of Pluto TV, not just because the names are similar. Both offer a few dozen ad-supported entertainment channels, and both are free to watch for the first week. The difference, after that first week, is $16/month. I just don’t see Philo’s appeal at all.