The OTT industry is crowded. According to a recent report by the Parks Associates, there are over 200 streaming video platforms available in the US, with 87% of those services offering some type of subscription option. The current climate, though possibly over whelming for some, is a great thing for consumers. Competition is healthy, it causes companies to work harder for your money, requiring them to create more customized packages at competitive rates in order to stay relevant. One company that is taking an new approach to internet TV programming is Philo. The $16/mo service isn’t for everyone though, sports enthusiasts beware– the service comes without a single sports channel. But for the nearly half of the people in the country that aren’t dedicated sports fans, Philo has one of the most affordable TV offerings.
The company’s $16/mo package comes with 37 channels that include: AMC, A&E, The History Channel, Comedy Central, The Food Network, Viceland, and Cheddar. And for an extra $4 users can get an additional 9 channels that include BET Her, MTV Live, and Nicktoons.
Compare that lineup to DISH’s Sling TV, whose “Orange Package,” which has 30 channels, is available for $20/mo. Of course, that package comes with ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPN 3. But what Philo lacks in its sports offerings, it makes up for in free features. The service allows users to record programming and stream in HD on up to three TVs at the same time. Sling TV requires customers to sign up for its $25 package to stream on more than one TV simultaneously, and to record programming it’s an extra $5.
Sling isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. The service, which was one of the first platforms that offered live TV programming, recently made Parks Associate’s Top 10 OTT platforms — a list calculated by number of subscribers each platform had. But what made Sling popular was its sleek skinny offering. Consumers no longer had to buy an 100-channel cable package to watch the ten channels they were actually interested in. But as society becomes more accustomed to OTT’s world of customization, and with the launch of TV services from YouTube, Hulu, and fubo, the once skinny bundle is looking a little bulkier, especially for those who watch sports using an antenna or don’t hold interest in the genre at all.
Hopefully the emergence of Philo will light a fire under the bottom of these streaming platforms, intensifying the competition between the services, and, in turn, creating more suitable packages for consumers.
Philo, which launches nationwide today, has $25 million in investment from five top programming groups, including A+E Networks, AMC Networks, Discovery Communications, Scripps Networks Interactive and Viacom. The service is available on Roku, iOS mobile apps and most web browsers. An Android mobile app is expected to launch soon with other distribution outlets said to be on the way.