Founded2009; 15 years ago (2009) (as Tivli)
HeadquartersSan Francisco, California, U.S.
  • Tuan Ho
  • Nick Krasney
Key peopleAndrew McCollum (CEO)
IndustryPay television
ServicesOTT Internet TV MVPD

Philo[1] (formerly Tivli[2]) is an American internet television company currently based in San Francisco, California, that was first founded at Harvard University in 2010 by Tuan Ho and Nicholas Krasney. Investors in the company include HBO, Andrew McCollum, and Mark Cuban. The company and its service is named in honor of one of the pioneering engineers of television, Philo T. Farnsworth. As of 2021, their OTT streaming television service has over 800,000 subscribers.[1]


Early history (2010–2016)

Philo was originally founded in 2010 as Tivli by Tuan Ho and Nicholas Krasney at Harvard University. It began as an experimental dorm-room streaming project using aluminium foil as a makeshift receiving antenna to "pick up (Boston area) 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 provide a streaming TV service to Harvard University students living on campus. When the service first launched in 2011, a quarter of the Harvard resident population registered for it within the first few weeks of the service.

In 2011, Tivli joined the Harvard Innovation Lab (iLab) as the first company in residence, before finally moving into their own office in Harvard Square in 2013. In 2012, Christopher Thorpe joined as CEO to build out Philo's original university IPTV service. From the earliest days, Philo had aspirations to launch a nationwide streaming TV service, starting in universities. After launching services at Harvard, Philo quickly added additional universities such as Stanford University, Yale University, Texas A&M University, and Brown University.[4] In 2013, Philo announced a strategic partnership with HBO to provide the HBO GO service to universities. By September 2015, the service was available in 42 universities.[5]

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, Ari Emanuel from Endeavor, and Rho Capital Partners.[6][7] The same year the company was rebranded as Philo, from its former name, Tivli.[8][9]

In 2014, Andrew McCollum, a founding member of Facebook, succeeded Christopher Thorpe as CEO to further expand Philo beyond providing university IPTV services and launch a direct-to-consumer over-the-top streaming service called Philo.[10] After securing their Series B round in 2015, Philo relocated to San Francisco, California.[11]

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.[12][13]

Recent history (2017–present)

Philo launched its OTT streaming television service in the United States on November 14, 2017. The service is available via TVs, digital media players, computers, tablets, and phones.[14][15] The service includes channels from A&E Networks, AMC Networks, Discovery, Inc. (prior to its 2022 merger with WarnerMedia to form Warner Bros. Discovery), and Viacom (prior to its 2019 reunion with CBS Corporation to form ViacomCBS, now known as Paramount Global), all of which also became joint owners of the service with a combined $25 million investment before this launch.[14]

The service has no local television stations or sports networks, though it does offer news services through BBC World News (which is distributed by AMC) and financial news channel Cheddar, along with the national feed of the AccuWeather Network.[16]

In October 2018, Philo added Hallmark Channel and its sister channels, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries and Hallmark Drama.[17]

In February 2020, Google Fiber announced it would no longer offer television packages to new subscribers. It backed YouTube TV and fuboTV at the time and added the $20 package of Philo's 61 channels as an option.[18] Adding Philo to the list of Google Fiber was described as a way to help the virtual MVPD "keep its growth streak going" without the burden of retransmission consent negotiations and fees needed to run a pay television service. At the time, Philo had 750,000 subscribers and the service said that over the year it had grown by 300%.[19] Philo then added Epix and Starz as premium add-ons in June of the same year, along with TV Everywhere credentials to their websites and access to their video-on-demand libraries.[20]

On March 29, 2021, T-Mobile announced a partnership with Philo to offer a discount on the service when bundled with its wireless plans.[21] September 8 saw the debut of a "Movies & More" add-on package, which includes Sony Movies, Reelz, HDNet Movies, MGM HD and Cinémoi.[22] Philo would be a launch partner of Comcast's revival of G4, launching the network on November 16.[23] GAC Media channels, GAC Living and GAC Family, were added to the service at the start of December 2021.[24]

In February 2022, Philo reached an agreement with entertainment company, Kin, to bring over 65 hours of programming to its platforms along with producing Philo's first original series, Boss Moves with Rasheeda.[25] Later in the year, Philo added around a half-dozen channels operated by Weigel Broadcasting, including MeTV, MeTV+, Heroes & Icons, Catchy Comedy and Story Television.[26] In October 2022, Philo added FETV to its base subscription package and Family Movie Classics to the "Movies & More" add-on package.[27]

In May 2023, Philo expanded its "free TV" lineup with nine new channels: The Bob Ross Channel, Comedy Dynamics, Cowboy Way, Drag Race Universe, FailArmy, Outside TV, People are Awesome, the Pet Collective and Screambox. Despite being listed in the "free TV" section of Philo's electronic program guide, the channels can't be accessed unless a user signs up for Philo's $25 a month package.


  1. ^ Through its ownership of A&E Networks under its Hearst Television division.
  2. ^ Through its ownership of A&E Networks under the Disney General Entertainment Content segment of its Disney Entertainment division.
  3. ^ Through its A&E Ventures division.


  1. ^ a b Cook, Sam (May 13, 2021). "Cord Cutting Statistics and Trends in 2021".
  2. ^ Roettgers, Janko (September 20, 2013). "Meet the newest cord cutters: college campuses". Gigaom. Archived from the original on December 29, 2016. Retrieved December 28, 2016.
  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. ^ "Philo Tunes in More Than 40 Universities | Multichannel". 10 September 2015. Retrieved 2016-12-04.
  6. ^ Moore, Galen. "Tonight on Campus TV: Comcast Vs. Mark Cuban, HBO and a Startup Called Philo". BostInno. Retrieved 13 December 2016.
  7. ^ Robbins, Max. "If Facebook and Hulu had a Baby it Would Look Like Philo". Forbes. Retrieved 13 December 2016.
  8. ^ "On-Campus Streaming TV Provider Tivli Rebrands as Philo, Adds Cloud DVR". The Wall Street Journal. 2 October 2013. Retrieved 2016-12-04.
  9. ^ "Tivli renamed Philo, adds DVR service". Boston Business Journal. Retrieved 2016-12-04.
  10. ^ "Facebook founding member named CEO of Internet TV startup Philo". Boston Business Journal. 20 November 2014. Retrieved 13 December 2016.
  11. ^ "TV startup led by Facebook co-founder to move to San Francisco". Boston Business Journal. 15 June 2015.
  12. ^ Bookman, Samantha. "Philo leads traditional TV toward campus cord-cutters, and maybe OTT's future". Fierce Cable. 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. ^ a b Silverman, Alex (November 14, 2017). "Programmers Ante Up for Philo Entertainment-Only Bundle". Cablefax. Retrieved November 16, 2018.
  15. ^ 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.
  16. ^ Silverman, Alex (November 15, 2017). "Philo Fills News Void with Fee-Free Upstart Cheddar". Cablefax. Retrieved November 16, 2018.
  17. ^ Philo Adds Hallmark, Hallmark Drama, & Hallmark Movies & Mysteries – The Stremable, 25 October 2018
  18. ^ "Google Fiber adds Philo streaming as an option next to YouTube and fubo". engadget. 27 August 2020. Retrieved 9 September 2020.
  19. ^ "Google Fiber adds Philo to list of streaming TV partners". Fierce Video. 31 August 2020. Retrieved 9 September 2020.
  20. ^ - The Cord Cutting Report, 9 June 2020
  21. ^ Hayes, Dade (2021-03-29). "T-Mobile Shutting Down TVision, Installs Philo As Base Video Offering At $10 A Month, Sets YouTube TV As Premium Option". Deadline. Retrieved 2021-03-29.
  22. ^ Barnes, Jess (8 September 2021). "Philo Launches New 'Movies & More' Add-On Package and Adds 4 Free Channels". Cord Cutters News. Retrieved 5 October 2021.
  23. ^ Takahashi, Dean (16 November 2021). "G4 comes back from the dead with video network for gamers". Venture Beat. Retrieved 16 November 2021.
  24. ^ "Philo is Adding GAC Living Network". Cord Cutters News. 2021-11-15. Retrieved 2021-11-23.
  25. ^ "Philo is Developing Its First Original Series". Cord Cutters News. 2022-02-23. Retrieved 2022-02-23.
  26. ^ "Philo Adds 3 New Channels". 2022-08-11. Retrieved 2022-10-19.
  27. ^ Keys, Matthew (2022-10-19). "Philo adds family-friendly FETV to base package of live channels". The Desk. Retrieved 2022-10-19.

Further reading