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Philo donates $1 million in commercial ad inventory to Black-owned businesses

The company says the donation and other initiatives align with its principles of diversity and inclusion.

The company says the donation and other initiatives align with its principles of diversity and inclusion.

The logo of streaming cable TV alternative Philo. (Image: Philo/Graphic, The Desk)

Streaming TV service Philo says it will donate $1 million in advertisement inventory to Black-owned businesses and social initiatives.

The move is part of a broader diversity, equality and inclusion initiative within the San Francisco-based startup that will also include working with the Ad Council and other program partners to air anti-racism public service announcements across Philo’s channels and on-demand programming.

Philo operates a linear streaming television service, offering more than 60 pay TV networks from AMC Networks, A+E Networks, ViacomCBS, Discovery and others for $20 a month. On Thursday, Philo announced a new distribution deal with Urban One to offer viewers TV One, a channel that airs programming directed at Black audiences.

Like most pay TV companies, Philo’s distribution deal with programmers allows it to insert a small amount of its own commercials during ad breaks. While broadcast television commands the largest price for its ad inventory, the same slots on cable TV networks typically cost less — as little as $10 per commercial, per channel — making Philo’s donation of a portion of its ad inventory significant.

In addition to the PSAs and commercials, Philo says it has joined forces with the National Urban League to produce an education series that will provide information on digital brand marketing to Black-owned businesses.

That initiative will be called the “Power Lunch Series,” Philo said in a statement, and the first session will feature two Philo executives discussing best practices for creating and executing a digital marketing strategy.

“The National Urban League is proud to partner with Philo on this initiative to both support and empower small African American business owners at such a critical time,” Marc Morial, the president and chief executive of the National Urban League, said in a statement. “Never in history have digital marketing and branding skills been more important to building consumer awareness and loyalty, [and] we’re confident the Power Lunch Series will help businesses to innovate and thrive in today’s challenging environment.”

Philo said their decision to support Black-owned businesses through the series and other initiatives fit with the company’s “TV for Everyone” mission, which they said includes “valuing the broader community and recognizing the responsibility to help accelerate progress by actively dissolving systemic inequity across the board.”

“Philo has always been committed to supporting the communities that we serve, which includes investing in diversity and equity where we have influence,” Nii Mantes Addy, Philo’s head of marketing, said in a statement. Addy is one of the two executives who will present at the inaugural Power Lunch Series.

The National Urban League said more information about the Power Lunch Series, including how to register and participate in the three-part series, will be made available on their website in the next few weeks.

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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).