May 25, 2021
Philo, the sports-free TV streaming service, is the latest virtual multichannel video programming distributors (vMVPD) to succumb to a price increase, due in part to rising content costs.
Starting June 8, Philo's base service will cost $25 per month for new subscribers, a 25% jump from its current price of $20. Customers who sign up prior to June 8 will stay at $20 per month for the streaming service, which features a lineup of 60-plus channels, a VoD library with more than 50,000 titles and a cloud DVR.
Figure 1: Philo, a sports-free OTT-TV service, had about 800,000 subs as of November 2020.
(Image source: Philo)
To help soften the blow of the pricier package for new subs, Philo's cloud DVR will keep recordings for up to a year, up from a prior limit of 30 days. Philo subs on the current $20 package have the option to upgrade to the extended DVR option.
The price increase will be Philo's first since the company debuted its national, OTT-delivered pay-TV service in November 2017. Philo CEO Andrew McCollum attributed the move to a mix of rising programming costs and costs associated with platform and billing partners.
"As many of you know, our contracts with our content partners include fees we pay that go up every year, and a significant part of the cost of Philo is driven by our platform and billing partners," McCollum explained in a blog post. "We are relentless in our focus on keeping our price low, so we do everything we can to reduce our overhead while managing these increasing costs. Even with those efforts, we can't offset these rising costs indefinitely, and this change reflects that reality."
Philo has avoided rising fees associated with sports networks, but is evidently not immune to all of the programming cost issues that have impacted vMVPDs and traditional pay-TV providers alike. In fact, several other vMVPDs, including YouTube TV, Hulu, Sling TV and FuboTV, have instituted price hikes in recent months.
Philo had about 800,000 subscribers as of November 2020.
It's not yet clear how much new subscriber activity Philo has seen in the wake of a recently announced partnership with T-Mobile that took shape as T-Mobile opted to shut down its own OTT-TV service, TVision. T-Mobile, which also has a partnership with YouTube TV, is currently offering Philo at the discounted rate of $10 per month for as long as the customer remains with the mobile operator.
— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading
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