Streaming service Philo adds TV One to lineup

The logo of TV One. (Photo: Urban One/Handout, Graphic: The Desk)

Streaming service Philo is adding TV One to its lineup of 60 pay TV networks, making it the latest channel to be added to the budget Internet-based cable TV alternative.

Urban One, the parent network of TV One, and Philo are expected to announce the launch of the channel on the service later today.

The addition of TV One to Philo marks the first time the channel has been made available to TV watchers who don’t subscribe to cable or satellite.

Prior to today, Philo carried TV One’s sister-network Cleo TV. Both specialize in offering program that target Black viewers.

“Adding more diverse programming aligns with our continued commitment to our community,” Andrew McCollum, Philo’s chief executive, said in a statement provided to The Desk. “The addition of TV One is the result of our appreciation for the importance of Black-owned channels and content perspectives to our overall business objectives, which in turn create opportunities for diverse creators.”

Philo has been aggressively adding channels to its service since the start of the year. In recent weeks, Philo’s added Get TV and INSP to its basic $20 a month subscription package — the only programming tier it offers — along with premium movie add-ons from Starz and Epix.

Those channels joined networks owned by Discovery, ViacomCBS, AMC Networks and A+E Networks, many of which have been offered to Philo customers since the service launched three years ago.

In an interview with The Desk for a forthcoming profile, McCollum said Philo’s success is built on the idea that many cable subscribers want quality entertainment, lifetime and knowledge channels without paying hundreds of dollars a year to cable or satellite companies to supplement more-costly channels like news and sports.

“There are a lot of people who want the Viacom channels like Comedy Central and Nickelodeon and the other programmers that we carry — AMC, Discovery, Food Network — but they don’t want to pay $100 or more or $80 a month to get them,” McCollum said.

On Thursday, McCollum said the addition of TV One to its lineup won’t result in a fee increase for customers.

“We’re proud to be the first [streaming cable TV alternative] to offer TV One while maintaining our best-in-class price point of $20 a month,” McCollum said.

The deal is mutually beneficial for Urban One: With the addition of TV One, Philo becomes both the first streaming cable TV alternative to offer both Urban One networks and one of the few pay TV platforms to offer TV One and Cleo TV in its basic programming package.

“We are excited to have TV One’s first [streaming TV] distribution deal be with Philo,” Michelle Rice, the general manager of TV One and Cleo TV, said in a statement. “They have been a great partner and continue to demonstrate a commitment to diverse content.”

Philo is available on Apple TV, Roku and Amazon Fire TV devices as well as phones and tablets running Apple’s iOS or Android. Philo programming is also available to stream in supported web browsers on Mac or PC. The company says Chromecast support is coming later this year.