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Philo raising price to $28 a month, launching standalone FAST tier

The core programming package will also get AMC Plus, but only if customers upgrade to the new price.

The core programming package will also get AMC Plus, but only if customers upgrade to the new price.

The logo of streaming service Philo
(Logo: Philo, Graphic designed by The Desk)

Wallet-conscious streaming service Philo is raising the price of its core programming package for the second time in three years.

Starting June 12, the cost of Philo’s core package will rise to $28 per month, or $3 more than its current price. As part of the price increase, Philo is also integrating the ad-supported tier of AMC Plus, while giving customers the option to pay $4 more if they want commercial-free streaming of AMC Plus content.

Existing customers won’t be affected by the price increase, as long as they maintain their service — which means some long-time customers will still pay anywhere from $16, $20 or $25 per month, depending on when they signed up and which package they selected at that time.

New and returning customers will be affected by the price increase in June, a Philo spokesperson said in an email to The Desk on Wednesday. Existing customers who want AMC Plus as part of their plan will have to opt in to the new $28 per month price in order to get the service, the spokesperson affirmed. Purchased separate from Philo, AMC Plus costs $5 per month with ads or $9 per month for commercial-free streaming.

“At Philo, our mission is to build a TV experience people love and be an amazing value for our subscribers,” Andrew McCollum, the CEO of Philo, said in a blog post on Wednesday. “A big part of that is doing everything we can to keep Philo as affordable as possible for our subscribers and not raising prices for them after they subscribe.”

McCollum said the costs associated with delivering content to subscribers was the driving force behind the price increase. In addition to AMC Plus, Philo offers streaming versions of live cable channels from AMC Networks, A+E Networks, Warner Bros Discovery and Paramount Global. It does not offer cable news channels or live sports, beyond a few instances per year when Nickelodeon offers kid-friendly sports simulcasts.

That said, Philo does offer live news programming from BBC News, which recently moved from its core pay TV package to a collection of free, ad-supported streaming TV (FAST) channels. Unlike other services, Philo required a subscription to its core package in order to access the FAST service, though The Desk reported last week that Philo had been experimenting with offering lapsed subscribers complementary access to its 70-plus FAST channels.

On Wednesday, McCollum affirmed Philo was tearing down the paywall for its FAST channels, allowing anyone with a Philo account to watch and record its catalog of free streaming channels. Those channels range from music video streams to general entertainment, lifestyle, knowledge and movie channels. BBC News relaunched as a FAST offering in March, and Philo moved it to the FAST section of its service a short time later.

The FAST platform will allow Philo streamers without a subscription to save shows and movies into a cloud DVR, similar to Philo’s core offering. Unlike the premium version of Philo, which saves shows for one year after they stream, the cloud DVR for FAST streamers will save shows for 30 days.

“Whether someone’s not ready to make the jump to Core or is simply taking a break, we still want to provide them with a wide selection of great shows and movies,” McCollum said.

Philo’s decision to offer a free tier of FAST channels follows in the footsteps of other providers that have made similar moves, or are planning to do so in the future. Dish Network’s streaming platform, Sling TV, has long offered FAST channels as part of a standalone, subscription-free service, which rebranded to Sling Freestream last year. Sports-inclusive service Fubo is readying the launch of a standalone FAST package that is expected to debut in the coming months.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is a nationally-recognized, award-winning journalist who has covered the business of media, technology, radio and television for more than 11 years. He is the publisher of The Desk and contributes to Know Techie, Digital Content Next and StreamTV Insider. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, the Walt Disney Company, McNaughton Newspapers and Tribune Broadcasting.
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