Philo expands FAST lineup with 9 more channels

Philo, a virtual MVPD focused on a lower-cost skinny streaming TV bundle, has expanded its free content lineup with nine new free ad-supported streaming TV (FAST) channels.

Joining Philo today, the latest additions to the FAST offering are InFast, InTrouble, InWonder, Chicken Soup for the Soul, and a collection of music video channels from Vevo including Vevo 80s, Vevo 90s, Vevo Country, Vevo Hip-Hop, and Vevo Pop.  

Philo already offers a variety of FAST channels, including adding nine separate channels in May, with three of the most widely distributed FAST channels (per One Touch Intelligence data) Pet Collective, Cheddar News, and The Bob Ross Channel part of its current slate. Those live alongside a wider FAST collection on Philo including USA Today, RetroCrush, Gusto, Revry and others.

The FAST channels come as part of Philo’s base package, offering more than 70 channels more akin to a skinny cable bundle. So while the latest additions are technically ad-supported channels that can be found for free on various other platforms, Philo’s aggregated popular FAST channels to bolster its TV lineup – which has an unchanged price of $25 per month.  Philo aims to appeal to the wallet-conscious consumers with a slimmer selection of channels and a significantly lower price point than leading virtual MVPDs in the space such as YouTube TV or Hulu + Live TV, which have their own base packages starting around $70 or so per month.

The Philo app is available on platforms including Roku, Amazon Fire TV and Samsung TVs. Last October Philo marked its first native app integration on smart TVs, joining Samsung’s Tizen-powered device lineup. At the time Philo said compatibility with Samsung and others in the smart TV ecosystem was one of the most-requested features of the service.

“Philo offers a great mix of premium and free live-streaming television channels which we’re pleased to have Chicken Soup for the Soul become part of,” said Philippe Guelton, chief revenue officer of Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment, in a statement. “Our channel has so much great content that will entertain viewers for hours, including our branded content series like At Home with Genevieve and Wedding Talk. In addition, now through the end of the year, we’re streaming romantic holiday movies – all for free.”

Philo for its part is bringing in more ad-supported content to the platform and earlier this year Philo head of advertising Reed Barker discussed with StreamTV Insider how the service is taking a data-driven approach to advertising. Part of that relates to targeting and brand-safe ad placement. The other component deals with identity, and Barker told StreamTV that the vMVPD is experimenting with privacy-compliant universal IDs, which provide a single ID assigned to users in the digital ecosystem.

“It helps advertisers understand someone who’s watching on Philo versus someone watching on Hulu…they don’t know it’s the same person but they know they can check off, ‘this ad was seen by person X how many times across the board’,” Barker said in May.

Other virtual MVPDs such as Fubo have also brought FAST content to their streaming TV lineup fold. Part of the appeal is lower costs for programming that expands the content slate and helps drive engagement while also bringing advertising revenue.