TV Answer Man, I am thinking of cutting the cord and I have been doing some research on the cheapest options. I see that Philo is just $25 a month, which seems like a great deal, even better than Sling TV. Do you know if Philo has sports like the other streamers, such as Sling TV? That’s an important one for our family. — Daisy, New Bern, North Carolina. 

Daisy, before I answer, allow me first to explain what Philo is for readers who are not familiar with the streaming service.

For $25 a month, Philo offers more than 70 ‘basic cable’ channels such as AMC, A&E, Discovery, OWN, Lifetime, Comedy Central, MTV, History Channell, Paramount Network and BET. You can see the complete list here. 

Once you purchase the base package, you can also add some premium channels separately such as MGM+ and Starz.

Philo, which comes with a seven-day free trial, does not require any installation or cancellation fees. And you can cancel at any time. There are no contracts such as those required by many cable and satellite operators.

At $25 a month, Philo has the lowest price of all major live streaming services, including Sling TV, which is $40 a month. However, there is something different about Philo that helps explain why it can charge such a low rate. And that fact is the answer to your question.

Philo does not carry sports channels, such as ESPN, Fox Sports, or regional sports channels. You didn’t ask, but it also does not have local channels. The decision to omit sports channels and network affiliates allows Philo to charge less because both groups are very expensive to carry. (ESPN, for instance, arguably charges more in carriage fees than any other channel.) They don’t have to pay as much in carriage fees so they don’t need as much subscriber revenue to succeed.

In contrast, Sling TV, and every other major live streaming service, offers ESPN as well as other sports (and local) channels. And this is partially why they require a higher subscription fee.

Philo’s executive team believes there’s a market for a streaming service that provides a strong lineup of entertainment channels at an affordable rate. And as long as they keep sports out, they can do that.

Daisy, hope that helps. Happy viewing and stay safe!

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— Phillip Swann