Philo suffered service outages during 'Yellowstone' season premiere

Philo subscribers were left hanging Sunday night during the fifth season premiere of Paramount’s “Yellowstone,” as the Philo app encountered service outages for over an hour.

The disruptions, which lasted roughly from 8 p.m. – 9:15 p.m. ET, were due to an overwhelming volume of viewer traffic, per a Monday blog post from Philo CEO Andrew McCollum.

“We let you down and we understand your frustration with us,” McCollum addressed subscribers. “Despite months of planning for what we understood would be a huge night of viewership, we’re disappointed that we were unable to fully predict all the different stress points our systems would be under at scale and make sure we could handle that additional load.”

The new episodes from “Yellowstone” and “The Walking Dead,” which also aired Sunday Night, are now available on-demand on the Philo app, he added.

To make up for the service interruption, McCollum said Philo will reach out to subscribers via email in the coming days to offer either a discount code or extended free trial. Only customers who bill directly with Philo – not through a third-party platform like Roku, Amazon or Apple – are eligible for these offers.

Philo subscribers on Twitter expressed their support for the company’s explanation for the outages, which isn’t usually the case when service goes down. DirecTV, for instance, has received a slew of negative feedback for its issues with the NFL Sunday Ticket stream.

Philo’s influx of viewers for “Yellowstone” is understandable, given the season premiere garnered a huge audience across the country. Approximately 5 million U.S. households tuned into the two-hour season debut during the live-plus-same-day window, according to Samba TV.

“After four seasons, the show’s massive audience base continues to impress with its latest season premiere becoming the most-watched scripted television premiere of 2022,” stated Ashwin Navin, co-founder and CEO of Samba TV. 

“Yellowstone continues to tap into the passions of a broad swath of viewers throughout the American Midwest hungry for western-themed genres that have been largely underrepresented on television in recent years,” he added.

Samba TV noted Midwestern cities such as St. Louis, Cleveland and Pittsburgh were over-indexed based on viewership of the fifth season debut. Whereas East and West Coast designated market areas (DMAs), like San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York, were all under-indexed.

Though “Yellowstone” is a Paramount-created show, older seasons are hosted on NBCUniversal’s Peacock service.

What’s more, Paramount doesn’t really provide viewers any direction on how they can catch up to the series. Speaking with Fierce Video earlier this year, nScreenMedia principal Colin Dixon said this kind of ambiguity on where to watch content is deliberate, as streamers would rather promote their owns services.