Following the new trend among streaming TV services to combine digital-first channels with traditional TV content, Philo today announced it’s expanding its live TV service with the addition of Cheddar Big News, People TV, and Tastemade. The Tastemade channel goes live today, with the other two shortly after.
Philo is a relative newcomer to the streaming TV market, having launched its service in November following its early endeavors as an on-campus TV provider. Its $16-per-month option is designed for cord cutters who care more about entertainment than they do sports.
By ditching sports programming, Philo undercut its competitors to become one of the cheapest ways to watch traditional cable TV channels, like A&E, AMC, BBC America, Comedy Central, Discovery Channel, Food Network, HGTV, Investigation Discovery (ID), Lifetime, MTV, TLC, Travel Channel, VH1, Viceland and others.
It also later added an expansion pack for $4 more per month that adds nine more channels, while still providing a 30-day cloud DVR and the ability to stream in HD on up to 3 devices at once.
Despite its affordable pricing, Philo is still something of an unknown in a market where even big brands like YouTube TV and Hulu are having to spend large marketing budgets just to create awareness around their live TV offerings. YouTube TV, for example, became a sponsor for the NBA Finals and the World Series to spread the word.
A new angle these services are trying now is to add on digital channels to bring in the internet audience. In April, YouTube TV added its first digital-only networks with the launch of two channels from Cheddar, followed in May by the additions of Tastemade and The Young Turks. Hulu, too, recently added Cheddar. Meanwhile, Sling TV already offers Cheddar, as does Pluto.
These additions also serve as a cheap way to offer viewers more programming, without having to increase prices. The same hold true for Philo, which is keeping the same rates as before, following the expansion.
“We built Philo for everyone who feels like TV was no longer serving them, and this is one more way we can stand apart,” said Philo CEO Andrew McCollum, in a statement.
As for gaining exposure, that’s a harder nut to crack. Philo’s newest attempt here is a just launched referral program, offering a $5 credit for each referral, and $5 for the person referred.