Frontier Offers Philo, Becomes Latest Telecom to Give Up on Pay TV

(Image credit: Philo)

Frontier Communications has become the latest telecom to retrench from the traditional pay TV business and simply offer a third-party virtual MVPD service to its subscribers to what is now its core service offering, broadband. 

Philo, which offers a bundle of 59 entertainment-themed channels—no broadcast networks, or sports or news—for an industry-low $20 a month—announced this week that both Frontier and cable company WideOpenWest will offer its service to its broadband-only customers. 

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Frontier paid Verizon $10.54 billion in 2016 for Fios assets in California, Texas and Florida. But less than four years after that deal closed, Frontier seems to be content with rendering its Fios service a single-play offering. 

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Frontier’s pay TV subscriber base shrunk to below 700,000 at the end of the third quarter. And like virtually all other North American pay TV operators, the company faces a virtuous cycle—the more its customer base for TV shrinks, the less bargaining power it has to push back against programmers in licensing negotiations. 

This downward trajectory has most small and mid-sized telecoms looking to third-party OTT services. Providing a video solution is crucial to packaging what is now their core business, broadband. And bundling ready-made live-streaming services like Philo has become a hot trend. 

Daniel Frankel

Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!