Philo Price Increase

Discussion in 'Internet Streaming Services' started by crkeehn, Apr 23, 2019.

  1. NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

    Jan 30, 2014
    Nashville, TN
    Yup, I foresee the same thing.

    Hmm. IMO Hulu would just launch a new skinny live channel package inside their own app with those channels if they were at all interested in something like that. Can't see Disney wanting to buy a piece of little ol' Philo. They've got plenty on their OTT plate already focusing on Hulu, Disney+ and ESPN+.

    The previous head of Hulu (who's now gone) did mention a couple years ago that they were looking at the possibility of launching a live channel package focused just on sports and news channels (presumably including the major locals too). That apparently hasn't gone anywhere though. But I've never heard any talk of them offering a skinny bundle of entertainment channels, the kind of thing that would compete with Philo. Wonder what they might charge for the core Hulu with ads plus ABC (which they own), Discovery channels (HGTV, Food, TLC, etc.), A+E channels (History, A&E, Lifetime), WarnerMedia channels (CNN, TBS, TNT, Cartoon Network), and the Hallmark Channel (which they don't currently carry)? I'm thinking maybe $20. But I kinda doubt we'll ever see Hulu offer something like that.
  2. rnbmusicfan

    rnbmusicfan Legend

    Jul 19, 2005
    I was looking more closely into the timeline of Philo, and it seems that Viacom became an investor in 2018, while the company started in its current form in 2017. I'd like to know the break down of the ownership currently, but I suspect Viacom holds less than 25% of the company, even though 15/60 or 25% of the main package channels are from Viacom.

    With the Dish deal with CBS, I think it is more or less a renewal of the past one of sorts, even though Viacom and CBS are a merged entity. I suspect we won't see CBS owned stations on Sling as it wasn't in the past, and there might not be any pressure for Philo to carry CBS owned stations as well. Philo's original intent was to not include sports channels and local channels, so it somewhat defies the intent of the service if CBS was added into it.

    I could see the ViacomCBS possibly requesting Philo management to include Pop, assuming the CEO or majority of Philo approve and maybe justification for Philo to increase pricing to $22-25/monthly. Right now, it's primary most direct competitor is Sling Blue, with Frndly TV a new smaller competitor in its side. Given that Sling is $30/monthly, I don't think Philo would hesitate necessarily that raising the rate a 2-3 bucks would lead to massive churn.

    It could probably include Buzzr (free on Sling, Roku Live), and low cost CourtTV (in YTTV), Military History and free LIGHTtv (in FrndlyTV) and maybe a few other channels along with Pop. I'm thinking TV One as it carries its sister station CLEO TV.

    Then tier a Philo Plus ($5-6 extra) with Smithsonian Channel and HDNet Movies (as it carries sister station AXS TV), MGM HD, SONY Movie Channel and PixL, and Epix Drive In.

    An extra pack, with Smithsonian Channel, can help increase subscriber counts, revenues and profit.

    It is interesting that HBO is listed as an investor, but HBOMax isn't offered as a premium add-on.

    But, I can see more likelihood of Showtime possibly being added as a premium, especially if Pop is added. It'd also make sense to get AMC Premiere/ IFC Unlimited as bundled add-ons more visible to the customer.
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2020
  3. makaiguy

    makaiguy Icon

    Sep 24, 2007
    Aiken, SC
    Heck, looks like ATT/HBO is even playing hardball over HBOMax in their own back yard. No wonder they haven't come to agreement for streaming HBOMax on Roku or Amazon.
  4. 1948GG

    1948GG Icon

    Aug 4, 2007
    Money money money. Even if one is pickpocketing their brother or sister to get it. That's the level thinking these 'executives' have fallen to.
  5. techguy88

    techguy88 Well-Known Member

    Mar 19, 2015
    Sometimes investing does not automatically equal ownership stake. While Wikipedia is a good source of information Philo's article needs work. HBO was an investor in Philo in its previous incarnation (Tivli). When Philo launched in its current form (the one we know today) in 2017 it was offering channels from A+E Networks, AMC Networks, Discovery & old Viacom. At this time those 4 companies became the owners each getting an equal ownership stake of Philo (25%).

    If AT&T had any ownership stake in Philo they would have sold it by now to pay down their massive debt load (like they did with Time Warner's 10% stake in Hulu.)
  6. rnbmusicfan

    rnbmusicfan Legend

    Jul 19, 2005

    This report shows more investors than just the four mentioned, including Rho Ventures, New Enterprise Associates and Xfund:
    Philo Company Profile: Valuation & Investors | PitchBook

    With multiple smaller investors involved, I don't think it is 25-25-25-25 share among A&E, AMC, Discovery and old Viacom, and all likely under 25%.

    As it stands, it appears no entity has majority and I assume a vote would have to decide significant changes to the service were to happen, e.g. price increases and other major changes to the service (e.g. CBS being added). As its most direct competitor Sling has not been required to carry CBS, I think Philo will be off the hook from carrying it going forward as well.

    On another note, the most watched networks listed from December 2019:
    Top-Rated Channels of 2019: TV Network Winners & Losers - Variety

    Interesting that none of the ViacomCBS cable networks made the top 20 and all of the ViacomCBS cable networks had viewership declines. Pop is pretty way down the list, and it'd seem to be largely for ViacomCBS's benefit for it added, than for a likely requested channel that would fit well for Philo. But if the cost is very low, maybe Viacom can persuade to it added, or if on an add-on package. Apparently AT&T TV keeps Pop in the Choice and not Entertainment (the entry level one), so there is precedent of it not having to be in the lowest package of a carrier. It'd make sense if Pop and Smithsonian could go in a higher tier then, and Showtime added as an extra premium, since Philo is already selling Starz and Epix now.

    Another interesting finding from the Variety article is the popularity of the channels that show westerns content (e.g. INSP, Heroes & Icons), and even StartTV (which is female focused) but owned by Weigel.

    It'd be great if Philo could get MeTV, Heroes & Icons, Grit TV (owned by Katz), and even Decades and more digitnets if they can, etc. but I realize there might be restrictions in that some Nielsen DMAs might not be permitted for a national feed distribution. I just see that getTV, LightTV and Court TV appear to have made it to streaming carriers with a national feed.
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2020
  7. rnbmusicfan

    rnbmusicfan Legend

    Jul 19, 2005
    Home Box Office is listed as a Series A investor in Philo. In the last funding round (Series C), it didn't participate, but Viacom is listed but a number of entities aside from Discovery, and AMC.

    Philo is a start up, but I think the long term is acquisition likely from an outside company.

    Perhaps Nexstar would see value in it as its business model relies on being a platform from distributing content offering other companies' content, largely ABC NBC CBS Fox affiliations throughout the country, and owns WGN America (Last Man Standing network) and Antenna TV. I think it could use Philo as a platform to launch WGN America and maybe Antenna TV, and be able to cross promote the service on its TV stations and possibly provide streams of its local news. And although I'm not a fan of polarized news reporting, if it'd add FOX News Channel along with the other westerns channels, family friendly and maybe the Outdoor/Heartland channels, it'd lead to a huge uptick in customers targeting specific demographics. Nexstar also owns 31% of Food Network and Cooking Channel in a JV with Discovery.
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2020

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