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Canadian Cablers Bowing Netflix Competitor

27 May, 2015 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Streaming service Shomi will be available to any broadband user; priced identical to Netflix

Canadian pay-TV operators have rued the day Netflix launched its first foreign service in their backyard five years ago this September.

Now Rogers Communications and Shaw Communications are expanding Shomi, a co-owned and operated subscription streaming service priced at $8.99 monthly — the same as Netflix — beyond TV Everywhere status to their respective pay-TV subscriber bases.

Shomi, which beta launched last November as a supplementary service to authenticated viewers, will be available later this year with a free one-month trial membership to anyone with a broadband connection living in Canada.

Current content offering includes The Simpsons Movie, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, and past seasons of “Modern Family,” “The Americans,” “Shameless,” “Parenthood,” “Sons of Anarchy,” “Parks and Recreation,” and Amazon Prime Instant Video originals “Transparent,” “Mozart in the Jungle” “Alpha House” and “Catastrophe,” among others.

"We have a lot of great content; 70% of the content on our service is exclusive to our service, so you can only watch it on Shomi. So I think we're going to be very formidable," David Asch, SVP and GM of Shomi, told The Canadian Press.

The pending launch comes as Netflix reportedly has penetrated about 35% of Canada’s 11.5 million broadband households, and remains the SVOD pioneer’s only profitable foreign venture to date.

Separately, Bell Media’s TV Everywhere service CraveTV, which is available to subscribers for an additional $4 per month, has no immediate plans to try competing as a standalone over-the-top video service.

"While we are always evaluating our business model in the context of a rapidly changing industry, we remain pleased with CraveTV's performance," Scott Henderson, VP of communications at Bell Media, said in a statement.


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