Apparently, the scam to try and fool us cord-cutters into paying for the same cable TV scam through a streaming service is failing. A company called Philo is now offering 37 live streaming channels for only $16 a month. The best news is that you are not subsidizing CNN or ESPN.
Why is this news? Let us count the ways…
To begin with, for $16 a month, the networks you can stream live include A&E, AMC, CMT, Comedy Central, Discovery, HGTV, Investigative Discovery, TLC, History, MTV, Nick, and OWN. Basically, by using Philo, your Roku player (or any other similar streaming device) replaces your cable box. You can also enjoy the equivalent of a DVR by saving any show for 30 days.
The $16 price point is huge, other than Sling, which is $20 a month for 25 channels (including CNN, ESPN, and a lot of junk), Philo is less than half of the current alternatives. DirecTV Now costs $35 a month; YouTubeTV, PlayStation Vue, and Hulu Live cost $40. In my opinion, these packages are nothing less than the cable scam moved to streaming.
How does Philo offer 37 channels for just $16? Well, here is the most interesting part…
Philo does not offer news or sports. No CNN, no MSNBC, no ESPN, or ESPN 2. Hallelujah! Except for BBC World News, this is a package strictly made up of entertainment channels.
Also missing are the countless sub-networks, the expensive filler, the junk channels that no one watches but you still pay for simply because greedy entertainment companies force them into your package.
Also of note is that biggest dog of all blinked. Rather than strong-arm Philo to accept ESPN (which would have turned a $16 package into a $22 package), Disney agreed to unbundle A&E and History as standalones. Disney does not own those networks outright but probably could have queered the deal.
This might even be unprecedented. For decades, in order for your subscription TV provider to offer a popular network like A&E or History, they were forced by the Disneys of the world to also provide expensive networks like ESPN and all kinds of junk sub-networks like MTV 9, ESPN 11, Discovery 17 (I’m making those up but you know what I mean). This is why you are forced to pay for 500 channels when you only watch six.
Viacom also provides a number of networks to Philo, including MTV, BET, CMT, VHI, the Paramount Network, and Comedy Central. Except for MTV2, though, there are none of Viacom’s junk networks clogging up the package.
Discovery Inc. (Discovery Channel, Investigative Discovery, HGTV, Animal Planet), A+E Networks (A&E, History), and AMC Networks (AMC, Sundance, BBC America) make up the bulk of the package. Like Viacom, all three of those corporations could have tried to muscle a number of junk networks into the bundle to sweeten their own deal, but didn’t.
This might also be the first streaming TV package that does not force you to subsidize the far-left CNN. The anti-Trump network’s ratings are so anemic, CNN could never survive without the cable subsidy you are forced to pay, even if you never watch the channel. So, at long last, here is a way to enjoy some of your favorite networks without subsidizing CNN’s fake news and bigoted hate. Same with ESPN.
The bad news with Philo is that you are still paying for the privilege of watching 20 minutes of commercials per hour — something I have found unbearable for 20 years,
The overall story here is that the big, fat cable bundle is beginning to break apart into more reasonable bite-sized pieces.
As smart people cut the expensive cable cord and move to cheaper than cheap streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon, which offer more commercial-free programming than any human being could consumer for a fraction of the price, this is putting massive pressure on these left-wing entertainment companies to actually treat us like valued customers again.
Philo arrives on Apple TV and Amazon Fire sometime this summer. It is already available through Roku.