Philo adds AMC+ to streaming TV bundle, ups price for new subs

Philo, the virtual MVPD offering a wallet-friendly skinny TV lineup, has expanded its streaming package with the addition of AMC+ and is increasing prices for new subscribers.

Philo is upping the cost of its Core package by $3 to $28 per month, starting June 12 for new and returning subscribers. Existing customers will retain their current price of $25 per month. The company started communicating the change to consumers Wednesday, meaning if viewers are interested in signing up, they can still lock in the $25 per month price tag if they do so in the next couple of weeks.

With an emphasis on budget-conscious entertainment, Philo noted it’s the service’s first price increase in three years (and third since launch) and that users who have been active subscribers to the vMVPD since it launched in 2017 still pay the same price today as they did seven years ago.

Also coming June 12 is the addition of the ad-supported version of the AMC+ SVOD bundled with Philo's live TV package. AMC+ is no stranger to bundling with linear pay TV providers, which is how the service started when it launched in 2020 first on Comcast and then Dish Network. The streaming service is now carried by all major U.S. cable providers. Like other streamers, AMC+ has joined the ad-supported club, launching a tier with ads last September.  If Philo customers want to upgrade to the ad-free version of AMC+ they can do so for an additional $4 per month on top of the $28 per month core package price.

Along with the AMC+ streaming service, The Walking Dead Universe Channel featuring 24/7 programming from the franchise is joining Philo. And subscribers will get access to AMC Networks’ three additional streaming libraries, including Shudder, Sundance Now and IFC.

In addition, it's expanding access to free ad-supported streaming TV (FAST) channels for non-subscribers. The vMVPD is now offering more than 70 FAST channels outside of the paywall to non-subscribers, meaning viewers can sign up to watch and record most of the free channels without paying for the Philo Core TV service or providing a credit card. Currently, the FAST channels are only accessibly via this landing page.  

“Whether someone’s not ready to make the jump to Core or is simply taking a break, we still want to provide them with a wide selection of great shows and movies,” wrote Philo CEO Andrew McCollum in a blog post Wednesday.

Philo isn’t the only vMVPD experimenting with FAST channels in front of a paywall. It’s a strategy executives at sports-focused vMVPD Fubo have pegged to help monetize and keep viewers engaged even when their subscription isn’t active. The company plans to introduce a completely free tier later this year that features more than 100 FAST channels and is initially only available to former Fubo subscribers and free trial users that don’t convert to paid customers.

“Having that free tier, we think will allow us to continue to monetize users the subscription realm, as well as when they’re pausing their subscription and waiting for the next sports season to start,” said Fubo CEO David Gandler on the company’s first quarter earnings call in May.