Philo adds 9 new FAST channels to streaming TV lineup

Virtual MVPD Philo, which focuses on serving a skinny streaming TV bundle to wallet conscious consumers, has added nine new FAST channels to its base package lineup.

The free ad-supported streaming TV (FAST) channels include: Cowboy Way, Drag Race Universe, Screambox TV, Bob Ross Channel, Fail Army, People are Awesome, Pet Collective, Comedy Dynamics and Outside.

The new channels, which span stand-up comedy specials, horror shows and movies, light-hearted pet-focused entertainment and the entire catalog of Bob Ross’ The Joy of Painting, among others, join Philo’s more than 70 channel TV offering. They’re the latest addition of free channels on the platform, which already include USA Today, RetroCrush, Cheddar News, Gusto, Revry, Players TV, Ryan and Friends, and

To be clear, the channels aren’t free through Philo for anyone to watch – users must have a paid subscription to the vMVPD, which at $25 per month is still priced significantly lower than other vMVPDs in the space that tend to also offer pricier sports content and a broader lineup. For example, leading vMVPDs such as YouTube TV and Hulu + Live TV offer respective base packages starting around $70 or so per month.

Still, Philo confirmed the FAST channels aren’t included in the service’s 70+ channel count, but live in the free section of the guide “at this time behind the paywall.” Philo sees them as bonus channels, where users can still access FAST content they enjoy, while remaining within the Philo ecosystem without the need to change apps.

Fubo, a sports-centric vMVPD, is another player that’s been leaning into adding FAST channels within its platform to round out its content offering and help drive engagement. During Fubo’s quarterly earnings call in November the question arose as to why, if consumers engage frequently with FAST channels they wouldn’t question paying the vMVPD’s monthly subscription price when the same content is available for free on several other platforms or services.

Fubo CEO and co-founder David Gandler explained that from their perspective, the aim with FAST channels is to deliver as much content as possible in an economical way. So while customers pay for the premium product, such as the World Cup, on Fubo they also get the benefit of aggregation, a content discovery engine and the platform surfacing relevant and personalized FAST content.

Similar to Philo, Gandler also indicated aggregating more content with FAST channels helps keep users within the Fubo platform to drive engagement.

“What I would say is Fubo is pretty much a gateway to television and entertainment,” Gandler said. “So for instance, if you’re watching a design show on Bravo or on HGTV. If we surface a design show from a FAST channel, I don’t think a customer will care where that particular piece of programming comes from. I think what's important in this case is that the customer understands that we're actually providing an amazing service.”