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Philo adds new channels from Paramount Global

Smithsonian Channel and Pop join the budget streaming entertainment service.

Smithsonian Channel and Pop join the budget streaming entertainment service.

An episode of "Yellowstone" is promoted on the streaming service Philo.
An episode of “Yellowstone” is promoted on the streaming service Philo. (Graphic by The Desk)

Wallet-friendly television service Philo has added two new cable channels to its streaming lineup.

The networks — Pop and Smithsonian Channel — are the first channels added to Philo that come from CBS side of Paramount Global’s portfolio. Paramount Global’s predecessor, Viacom Networks, merged with CBS in 2019. The company is an investor-owner in Philo.

“We know our Philo community will love the awe-inspiring stories, powerful documentaries and amazing factual entertainment from Smithsonian Channel, as well as the fun, comedy-leaning Pop TV shows for viewers raised on ‘80s and ‘90s network TV,” Adam Salmons, the head of distribution and content partnerships, said in a statement on Thursday.

Pop is a general entertainment channel that offers re-runs of iconic comedies and dramas, including “ER,” “House,” “The Goldbergs,” “NCIS: New Orleans” and “Ghost Whisperer.” It gained notoriety several years ago after acquiring the domestic rights to the Canadian comedy “Schitt’s Creek,” which ran on Pop from 2015 to 2020.

Smithsonian Channel offers fact-based programming, including documentaries, on American history, space exploration, geography and travel. Its programs include “Aerial America,” “America’s Hidden Stories,” “Apollo’s Moon Shot” and “The Pacific War in Color.”

Both channels were folded into Paramount Global when CBS and Viacom merged several years ago. Other channels that are part of the legacy CBS brand — including the CBS network itself, CBS Sports Network and Showtime — are not offered by Philo, though the company’s CEO, Andrew McCollum, hasn’t ruled out plans to eventually add them.

“To be perfectly honest, CBS is really just one channel — it’s not actually just one, there’s a couple of others — but if you look at any of the broadcasters, it’s the smallest delta,” McCollum told The Desk in 2020. “If we did add [CBS], I’m not sure it would be terrible.”

The addition of Smithsonian Network and Pop show Philo is still committed to its mission of offering top-tier channels in a way that doesn’t break the bank for subscribers, and has found a way to offer more channels from Paramount Global without raising fees on customers.

Philo costs $25 a month and offers other Paramount Global networks — including Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, Paramount Network, MTV, VH1, TV Land and Logo — as well as channels from A+E Networks (A&E, History Channel, Lifetime, Vice), AMC Networks (AMC, IFC, We TV, BBC America, Sundance) and the Discovery portfolio of Warner Bros Discovery (Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, Travel Channel, Science Channel).

The service is available on streaming TV platforms Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV (Google TV) and Apple TV as well as newer-model Samsung TVs, on phones, tablets and via the Philo website.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).