Philo, Roku, and Performance Marketing for 

Virtual MVPDs

In Roku's “Cord-Cutting in Uncertain Times” survey, we found that 1 in 3 Americans no longer have cable. Instead, they're turning to cable alternatives like Philo, Sling, and YouTube TV. Viewers wanted more flexibility with pricing, viewing options, and packages. In the past year, streaming hours and subscriptions have skyrocketed.  

This has had a big impact on virtual multichannel video programming distributors (vMVPD) like Philo. Launched in 2017, Philo built a next-gen TV service across 100+ college campuses. In fact, Philo has grown by 300% year-over-year.

Philo’s innovative marketing strategies are based on targeting the right audience and closely looking at outcomes when it comes to subscriptions, installs, and other metrics.  

“Our growth is due to our focus on performance marketing,” Mike Keyserling, Chief Operating Officer for Philo told Tim Natividad, Roku’s Head of Performance Marketing at NATPE’s Streaming Plus. “We play in a space with the largest media companies – for example, YouTube TV buys Super Bowl and NBA Finals ads. We need to be incredibly efficient in how we spend our marketing dollars to build a long-term, sustainable business. What’s great about performance marketing is that if it’s working, you can turn up the spend. That’s what we’ve been doing on Roku and other channels to grow successfully.”  

The Roku Ecosystem: Proximity and Intent.  

The consumer journey has four key moments: social, search, shop, and stream. While other digital platforms help advertisers own the social, search, and shop moments, Roku owns the streaming category. For vMVPDs, that means that Roku presents a big opportunity.  

“Roku is the largest connected TV platform in the US,” Keyserling says. “It’s also closest in proximity to subscriber intent, meaning you have a captive audience looking for services like Philo. Compared to social and search, your unique proximity allows us to make an easier conversion from our marketing spend.”  

All of this has mattered more than ever this year. The surge in vMPVD subscriptions this year has put a new emphasis on the streaming experience and the trend has fundamentally changed how consumers watch TV.  

"COVID-19 is fundamentally speeding up the way people watch TV,” Keyserling explainsOnce they see that they’re getting a better user experience, simplicity, ease of use… it doesn’t make sense to go back. When consumers use a streaming service they love like Philo on Roku, they’ll stick with it. 

Watch the full discussion between Tim Natividad and Mike Keyserling below: