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Philo offers discount to subscribers for Yellowstone glitch

Season 5 of Yellowstone will challenge the Dutton Family like never before.
Season 5 of Yellowstone will challenge the Dutton Family like never before. (Still image courtesy Paramount Network/Paramount Global, Graphic edited by The Desk)

Streaming television service Philo says it will offer discount codes to most subscribers after a technical issue left some unable to watch Yellowstone on Sunday.

The issue occurred about 20 minutes into the debut episode of Yellowstone’s fifth season, which began airing on the Paramount Network and several other Paramount-owned cable channel at 8 p.m. Eastern Time.

Philo is a streaming cable television alternative that offers Paramount Network and other general entertainment channels for $25 a month, making it one of the cheapest ways to watch new episodes of Yellowstone without a cable or satellite subscription.

The low price point made Philo an attractive option for TV viewers who have moved away from traditional pay TV packages, but the crush of new subscribers streaming Yellowstone on Philo was a little too much for the service to handle.

“Despite months of planning for what we understood would be a huge night of viewership, we’re disappointed that we were unable to fully predict all the different stress points our systems would be under at scale and make sure we could handle that additional load,” Andrew McCollum, Philo’s CEO, said in a statement Monday evening. “We love TV — especially the excitement that comes from watching live. … It’s why we wake up each day so passionate about what we do at Philo. We were right there with you all last night, until we fell short.”

McCollum said subscribers who pay for their service directly through Philo will be offered a discount code by e-mail in the coming days. Customers who pay for Philo through Amazon Pay, Roku Pay or iTunes can contact Philo’s customer support to switch to direct billing, at which point they may be eligible for a similar perk.

Customers who signed up for an extended free trial of Philo will be given an extension, McCollum affirmed.

“If you’ve been with us for years, I hope you’ll recognize this as a rare situation we will work tirelessly to correct,” McCollum said. “If you’re new to Philo, I’m deeply sorry that this was your first impression — we aspire to do much better and hope you’ll give us the chance to prove that to you.”

Philo says customers can watch the complete Yellowstone episode that aired Sunday through the service’s on-demand feature. Subscribers and trialers who saved Yellowstone to their cloud DVR will also be able to watch Sunday night’s episode.

The debut of Yellowstone’s fifth season kicked off with a two-hour double episode Sunday evening. The first run of the two episodes grabbed 8.8 million viewers for Paramount Network and other Paramount-owned channels, making it the top show on cable TV that evening and ahead of programs aired on ABC, CBS and Fox.

The show was only bested in its time slot by NBC’s telecast of Sunday Night Football, which had over 11 million viewers. Fans of the Los Angeles Chargers arguably had a worse night than Philo subscribers, as the team fell to the San Francisco 49ers 16-22.

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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).