Canadian On-demand TV Options are Getting a Lot Better

Posted by Tom Emrich

Last week was a great week for on demand TV watchers here in Canada with the roll out of new offerings from Rogers, Bell and Netflix. The focus on launching alternatives to traditional cable reflects our growing change in TV consumption as more and more of us are using PVRs, streaming and on demand services to get our TV fix.

Rogers made a bold move in the Smart TV space with the launch of their Anyplace TV app for LG Smart TVs. According to Rogers, this is the first on demand video app of its kind in Canada and gives their customers access to cable and premium on demand content directly on their Smart TV. The app will support 2012 and 2013 LG Smart TVs including OLED and Ultra HD.

The Smart TV is a welcome addition to the multi-platform support Rogers Anyplace already has across PCs, smartphones, tablets and the Xbox 360 gaming system. Rogers’ move to be first-to-market with an app for Smart TV is reminiscent to being the first cable company to offer web-based streaming entertainment content back when Rogers Anyplace in 2009 (it was rebranded in 2012).

"The internet is the anchor in the home, and makes next generation entertainment experiences possible. The extension of Rogers Anyplace TV to LG Smart TVs demonstrates our ongoing commitment to transforming TV viewing for our customers," said David Purdy, senior vice-president, content, Rogers Communications. 

Bell also showed its commitment to the role the internet is playing in TV programming with the launch of CBC and Radio-Canada channels on their Bell Mobile TV app last week. CBC and Radio-Canada join more than 30 other live and on demand channels that can be accessed on smartphones and tablets using the app.

But for the 8% or so who have cut the cord and are no longer cable subscribers to either Rogers or Bell, the release of Netflix’s new original series, Hemlock Grove, is music to our ears.

Hemlock Grove, shot in the Cinespace Film Studios in Toronto, is a 13-episode supernatural horror/thriller series produced by Eli Roth, best known for directing the horror film The Hostel. It is being touted as a cross between American Horror Story and Twin Peaks and has already achieved a near 4 out of 5 star rating on Netflix since its release on Friday.

This is Netflix’s third original program after the NYC gangster series, Lilyhammer, released in February 2012, and the widely successful Kevin Spacey political drama, House of Cards, released earlier this year. Like the other two programs, Netflix has decided to release all 13 episodes of Hemlock Grove at the same time making it the perfect new choice for TV marathoners.

The continued choices in consuming television content is causing challenges on the TV programing side here in Canada as simply bringing imports up from the south is no longer a sure-fire win. The growing power in the hands of the consumer, with their ability to choose content unfettered from the traditional limitations caused by time zones and borders, has forced programmers to factor in this new age of freedom and choices when selecting their seasonal lineups.

I expect that things will continue to heat up on the TV programming side as we start to see a greater adoption of Smart TVs in Canada and find ourselves with even more on demand options from the likes of Amazon, RDIO and perhaps even Apple as they become available to Canada in the near future (that is if they become available).

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Tom Emrich

Tom Emrich

Tom is a freelance consultant and blogger based in Toronto specializing in mobile, tablets and emerging technology. He has worked with independent developers, major media companies and start-ups on successfully developing, launching and marketing digital products here in Canada and abroad. His professional passion for technology is eclipsed only by his personal obsession with emerging... more




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