Cable Programmers Teaming Up for Non-Sports Skinny Bundle (Report)

The crowded category of so-called “skinny bundle” streaming services that package together linear channels is getting yet another entrant.

The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that A+E Networks, Viacom, Discovery, Scripps and AMC Networks are banding together to form a broadband-delivered bundle of TV networks that will be free of sports, enabling them to charge less than $20 per month. Discovery announced its intent to acquire Scripps earlier this year.

The channel package is said to be dubbed Philo, named after the company powering the venture. The San Franciso-based company had received funding from investors including HBO in recent years with a streaming platform that targeted students attending U.S. colleges.

The new joint venture is expected to launch in beta shortly. Additional details on Philo are scarce, but it will presumably contain content from many of the powerful TV brands operated by these companies, including HGTV, MTV, TLC, History and AMC, home of top-rated scripted drama “The Walking Dead.”

What Philo won’t have is sports programming, which is dominated by some of their larger cable rivals including Disney, CBS, 21st Century Fox and Time Warner. These companies also have the broadcast-network assets the companies in the Philo venture lack.

Philo would join a cluttered field of skinny bundles that have already come to market in recent years, including Sling TV, Playstation Vue, DirecTV Now and newer entries from YouTube and Hulu. Many analysts expect some of these services to begin to step up their marketing efforts as the NFL season unfolds and more broadcast affiliates are added to their respective systems.

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