Philo (company)

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Philo logo.svg
Founded2009; 12 years ago (2009) (as Tivli)
HeadquartersSan Francisco, California, U.S.
  • Nick Krasney
  • Tuan Ho
Key peopleAndrew McCollum (CEO)
IndustryPay television
ServicesOTT Internet TV MVPD

Philo (formerly Tivli)[1] is an American internet television company currently based in San Francisco, California, that first launched at Harvard University in 2009. Investors in the company include HBO, Andrew McCollum, and Mark Cuban. The company and its service is named in honor for one of the pioneering engineers of television, Philo T. Farnsworth.

As of August 2020, their OTT streaming television service has approximately 750,000 subscribers.[2]


Early history (2009-2015)[edit]

The company was originally founded in 2009 as Tivli by then Harvard seniors Nicholas Krasney and Tuan Ho. It began as an experiment using aluminium foil as a makeshift satellite dish in order to "pick up TV signals and deliver them wirelessly to their laptops via a jerry-rigged server".[3] At its launch, the project was intended to be a way to circumvent the fact that Harvard did not provide cable TV service for its students. When the service was made available to others in 2011, half of the Harvard resident population registered for it within the first few weeks of the offer.[4]

In 2009, Tivli first incubated in Cambridge, Massachusetts, at the Harvard Innovation Lab (iLab) before moving to Harvard Square in 2013. During the period of 2012 to 2014, Christopher Thorpe [5] was brought in as CEO and helped restructure the company and invested a lot in its culture. This helped them be prepared for future funding rounds. After securing their Series B round, Philo moved again in 2015 to San Francisco, California.[6]

In July 2013, the venture raised a $6.3 million round led by Patrick Chung at venture capital firm New Enterprise Associates. Among the Series A investors, were Mark Cuban from Radical Investments LP, HBO, and Rho Ventures.[7][8] The same year the company was rebranded as Philo, from its former name, Tivli.[9][10]

Recent history (2015-2021)[edit]

In June 2015, Philo raised $10 million in a Series B round led by New Enterprise Associates, with joint investment from HBO, Rho Ventures, Xfund, CBC New Media Group, as well as Andrew McCollum.[11] McCollum, a founding member of Facebook, became CEO of the company in 2014.[12][13] As of September 2015, the service was available in 42 universities.[14]

On November 14, 2017, Philo launched a new OTT streaming television service in the United States. The service is available via TVs, computers, tablets, and phones.[15][16] The service includes channels from A&E Networks, AMC Networks, Discovery and the legacy Viacom (now ViacomCBS) channels. Those companies also became joint owners of the service with a combined $25 million investment before this launch.[15]

The service has no local or sports channels. While Philo does not have any of the major news channels, the service offers BBC World News, which is distributed by AMC, and financial news channel, Cheddar.[17]

In October 2018, Philo added Hallmark Channel and its sister channels Hallmark Movies & Mysteries and Hallmark Drama.[18]

In February 2020, Google Fiber announced it would only offer new customer options to sign up for streaming services. It backed YouTube TV and fuboTV at the time and added the $20 package of Philo's 61-channel as an option.[19] Adding Philo to the list of Google Fiber was described as a way to help the virtual MVPD keep its growth streak going. At the time, Philo had 750,000 subscribers and the service said that over the year it had grown by 300%.[20]

In June 2020, Philo added EPIX and STARZ as premium add-ons, with the on-demand library for each service to be made available.[21]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Roettgers, Janko (September 20, 2013). "Meet the newest cord cutters: college campuses". Gigaom. Retrieved December 28, 2016.
  2. ^ "Philo Streaming TV Bundle Hits 750,000 Subscribers, Up 300% In Past Year". Deadline. August 5, 2020. Retrieved September 3, 2020.
  3. ^ "Company Profile: Philo". Fast Company. Retrieved 13 December 2016.
  4. ^ "Start-Up Puts Streaming TV on Campus". The New York Times. 27 January 2013.
  5. ^
  6. ^ "TV startup led by Facebook co-founder to move to San Francisco". Boston Business Journal. 15 June 2015.
  7. ^ Moore, Galen. "Tonight on Campus TV: Comcast Vs. Mark Cuban, HBO and a Startup Called Philo". BostInno. Retrieved 13 December 2016.
  8. ^ Robbins, Max. "If Facebook and Hulu had a Baby it Would Look Like Philo". Forbes. Retrieved 13 December 2016.
  9. ^ "On-Campus Streaming TV Provider Tivli Rebrands as Philo, Adds Cloud DVR". The Wall Street Journal. 2 October 2013. Retrieved 2016-12-04.
  10. ^ "Tivli renamed Philo, adds DVR service". Boston Business Journal. Retrieved 2016-12-04.
  11. ^ Bookman, Samantha. "Philo leads traditional TV toward campus cord-cutters, and maybe OTT's future". Fierce Cable. Retrieved 13 December 2016.
  12. ^ "Facebook founding member named CEO of Internet TV startup Philo". Boston Business Journal. 20 November 2014. Retrieved 13 December 2016.
  13. ^ "Philo Raises $10 Million From NEA, HBO & Others For Its On-Campus Internet TV Service". Tech Crunch. 15 July 2015.
  14. ^ "Philo Tunes in More Than 40 Universities | Multichannel". Retrieved 2016-12-04.
  15. ^ a b Silverman, Alex (November 14, 2017). "Programmers Ante Up for Philo Entertainment-Only Bundle". Cablefax. Retrieved November 16, 2018.
  16. ^ Lombardo, Cara (2017-11-14). "Streaming Service Tests Appetite for Low-Cost TV Without Sports". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2017-11-14.
  17. ^ Silverman, Alex (November 15, 2017). "Philo Fills News Void with Fee-Free Upstart Cheddar". Cablefax. Retrieved November 16, 2018.
  18. ^ Philo Adds Hallmark, Hallmark Drama, & Hallmark Movies & Mysteries – The Stremable, 25 October 2018
  19. ^ "Google Fiber adds Philo streaming as an option next to YouTube and fubo". engadget. 27 August 2020. Retrieved 9 September 2020.
  20. ^ "Google Fiber adds Philo to list of streaming TV partners". Fierce Video. 31 August 2020. Retrieved 9 September 2020.
  21. ^ - The Cord Cutting Report, 9 June 2020

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