Philo, the new entertainment-focused OTT TV service, is “open” to the idea of adding local broadcast channels to its mix, so long as a deal allows Philo to retain the flexibility of its pay TV model, company CEO Andrew McCollum said in an Ask Me Anything session today on Reddit.
“We've spoken to them [the broadcasters] many times, and we're definitely open to adding them to the service, but we aren't going to do it if we can't preserve the flexibility and value that we think consumers,” McCollum wrote.
Those comments come about a month after Philo moved ahead with the national launch of a sports-free OTT TV service that starts at $16 per month and features channels from programmers such as A+E Networks, AMC, Discovery Communications, Scripps Networks Interactive and Viacom.
He later added that most Philo subs are leaning toward the baseline offering of 37 channels, but has seen some opt for its 46-channel package, which sells for $20 per month.
“We were surprised at the split being closer than we expected,” McCollum said.
Several Reddit users pressed the company on when it would extend its service to platforms such as Fire TV, Android TV and Google Chromecast (its service is currently offered on web browsers, Roku players, iOS devices, and via Chrome on Android devices, with a native Android app in the wings.).
McCollum declined to discuss specific timeframes. “We are a small team, and we really wanted to get the product in people's hands so we had to prioritize for the launch. I can't promise a date but soon!” he explained with respect to support for more platforms.
He did note that Apple TV “is a little easier” for Philo because “it’s a shorter jump from iOS, where we already have a native app.”
McCollum also opened the door to the idea of offering sports and news packages through add-ons. “[If we can do it in a way that gives people flexibility, we're very open to it. Of course, some of these options are already available to stream directly from the leagues,” he said.
One of Philo’s early hallmarks is a friction-free way for customers to sign up for the service, as they only need to provide their mobile phone number to get started. As part of other efforts to provide more payment options, Philo, he said, recently started to accept prepaid debit cards.
On the TV Everywhere front, McCollum said Philo is also testing a system that will let its subscribers log in and use the apps of programming partners, with plans to launch that capability “early next year.”
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