Philo eyes distribution on Samsung devices, CEO affirms

(Logo: Philo, Graphic designed by The Desk)

Wallet-friendly streaming service Philo is in the preliminary stages of developing an application that will allow customers to natively stream live and on-demand content from Samsung’s smart television sets and monitors.

During an interview streamed on YouTube this week, Philo’s Chief Executive Officer Andrew McCollum affirmed the company was working on a version of its streaming app that would integrate natively into devices running Samsung’s Tizen operating system.

“I can’t announce yet when Philo will be on Samsung, but it’s something we’re looking at pretty carefully,” McCollum said on tech review channel “Michael Saves.”

For several years, Philo has limited the development of it live TV streaming service to platforms running Apple’s iOS, Google’s Android (including Android TV/Google TV), Roku OS and Amazon Fire TV, citing its decision to develop apps in house with a limited staff.

That decision has helped Philo keep its subscription price low (currently $25 a month for over 60 live channels), which has helped it grow its customer base to nearly one million users, though it also means cord-cutters who use game consoles or  own smart TVs made by Samsung, LG or Vizio have had to pick up a separate streaming device or use Airplay or Google Cast to stream Philo.

The development of an app to run on top of Samsung’s Tizen operating system would be the first offering of Philo on a native smart TV platform.

Philo’s channel lineup is mostly comprised of general entertainment, lifestyle and knowledge networks, many of which are programmed and distributed by Philo’s investor-owners (Discovery, Inc.; AMC Networks; A&E Networks; Paramount Global). The decision to avoid distribution deals with media giants like Comcast’s NBC Universal, Fox Corporation and the Walt Disney Company has helped keep Philo’s price lower than its nearest competitors, though it also has resulted in a service that offers a limited amount of live sports.

McCollum said one overlooked strength of Philo compared to its competitors is the amount of on-demand content available in the streamer’s library from its partner programmers. Along with the on-demand libraries of the networks carried by Philo, the service also offers access to thousands of movie titles through three add-on packages, including Starz and Amazon-owned Epix. It also offers hundreds of ad-supported TV shows and movies from streaming service Crackle natively through the Philo app.