Rogers to release streaming service

Canadian media giant to compete with the likes of Netflix, Hulu.

Rogers is rumoured to be preparing to launch an online streaming service that would compete with Netflix, according to several reports. This service would strongly resemble Hulu Plus, which offers consumers in the United States digital access to new TV shows for a monthly fee.

According to these sources, Rogers has spent more than $100 million on content deals with big name providers such as Disney/ABC, Warner Bros., Twentieth Century Fox, as well as Canadian players Bell Media and Shaw media. They have also reportedly worked out an agreement with entertainment giant Cineplex as a partner in the streaming service.

An unknown Rogers source stated, “They are buying up all the rights, all the windows, to everything in order to keep them out of the hands of Netflix in Canada. What they also say they want to do is target all the twenty-somethings who don’t have cable with this—and then hopefully pull them into the system.”

These agreements keep those TV titles and any film titles Rogers might be able to get away from Netflix in Canada, to make their library even weaker. As many Canadian users who currently have Netflix switch their IP address to gain advantage of the more robust US library, this transition for Rogers could not come at a better time. With Rogers’ investment in this market, and deals with those major companies, it will slowly eat away from Netflix’s market share.

In November, the Convergence Consulting group estimated that approximately 400,000 Canadian TV subscribers out of 11.8 million have made do with either streamed content, tapping into over-the-air signals, or just watching DVDs and Blu-Rays. This equals out to be 3.5 per cent of the market.

Currently, we don’t know how much Rogers is planning to charge, or if it will include ads or not. The inclusion of ads that appear several times throughout an episode has been a major drawback for users of Hulu who feel that their monthly fee of eight dollars a month should be enough to provide them with an ad-free atmosphere.

The system is currently being called as “Showmi” and is estimated to go live in April, which would give unlimited access to the service through TV’s, computers, tablets, gaming consoles, and smart phones. This will not be the only TV streaming service in Canada besides Netflix, as Quebec-based Videotron recently launched its ten dollars per month video-on-demand service. It is only available in Quebec and Ontario, and mainly offers French-language content that includes the latest TV shows, movies and documentaries.

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