Watch out Netflix: Rogers and Shaw team up to launch Canadian video streaming service

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It’s not often we see major marketplace rivals pairing up, but when it comes to throwing a little competition to video streaming giant Netflix, Canada’s Rogers and Shaw are up for the battle.

Rogers Communications Inc. and Shaw Communications Inc. have announced their partnership in a new service called Shomi, which will be available to their broadband and cable subscribers starting in early November.

“Shomi will launch with 11,000 hours of TV shows, 1,200 movie titles and 340 TV shows ready to be streamed. And it will be available on a plethora of platforms, including tablet, mobile, online, Xbox 360 and set top boxes,” elaborates Canadian Business.

Priced at $8.99 a month, Shomi is poised to give Netflix a run for its money; the dominant “second-screen” streaming service’s base plan is currently $7.99 a month, but prices are slated to rise soon.

It will come down to content, according to industry analysts. Shomi has an advantage in the Canadian market, since Rogers and Shaw are already in the enviable position of having existing content licensing relationships with the entities that control distribution for popular shows like “Modern Family” and “Sons of Anarchy.” Shomi is likely to take advantage of the fact that “broadcasters are likely more willing to negotiate with their peers than upstart disruptors like Netflix,” notes Canadian Business.

Rogers and Shaw reportedly have already inked “deals worth over $100-million with leading U.S. movie studios and distributors including Warner Bros., NBC Universal and 20th Century Fox,” reports the National Post.

Netflix has already gobbled up over four million Canadian subscribers since arriving on the market north of the border in 2010.

Part of Netflix’s increasing appeal is its successful foray into original programming with shows like “House of Cards” and “Orange is the New Black.” It’s unclear just how far into those waters Shomi intends to venture.

Shomi is expected to have 30% Canadian content, and they’ve told the media they are already holding several titles from Canadian broadcasters like the CBC.

Subscribers will experience Shomi in beta mode for its first six months to a year.

Featured image: shomi/Facebook

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Lindsay William-Ross Lindsay is a Senior Editor at Vancity Buzz, and currently runs the site's Food section. A fourth generation Vancouverite, she spent the last two decades in Los Angeles, where she was EIC of the city's top blog, earned her MA, attended culinary school, and was an English professor (among other things). Lindsay's first published piece was December 1980 in The Province; it was her letter to Santa. E-mail: lindsay@vancitybuzz.com
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