I’m talking OTT and SVOD in Canada here so I’m not going to finish the quote. I played around with Shomi during the free 30 day trial that I was entitled to as a Rogers subscriber. Then Bell Media was nice enough to give me a 30 day guest pass to the mobile version of CraveTV (since I’m not a Bell subscriber that’s all I could get). So I’ve played around a little, to the extent possible.
Here’s my problem. What I would really like to have is impossible either because of outdated business models, Canadian broadcast regulation or a lack of Canadian OTT regulation. I’m stuck.
I would like to have a service that flows seamlessly between my television and my iPad (my kid would also like it to work on her shiny new Nexus phone) so that I could switch platforms in mid-episode or at least keep track of which episode I’m on in mid-binge. This is possible with Netflix but not possible with Shomi and CraveTV because their OTT platforms (the tablet, web and phone platforms) and SVOD (Subscription VOD on your TV) are licensed separately (OTT being exempt from regulation and SVOD being fully regulated).
I would like a Canadian service that supports Canadian programming on all of its platforms. Shomi and CraveTV have to make a contribution to Canadian programming and provide a quota on their SVOD platforms according to VOD regulation, but have no such obligation for their OTT platforms. Netflix has no requirement at all.
I would like to watch the Golden Globes and know that I have access to the cool new shows like “Transparent” (Shomi quickly announced during the awards that they will be carrying it, it is on OTT service Amazon Studios in the U.S.) and “House of Cards” (on Netflix) without having to pay separate OTT subscriptions for each one. Exclusivity is a model that only frustrates the consumer in the Internet world.
I would like to be able to be a Rogers cable, internet and wireless subscriber (well, maybe not but I am anyway) and subscribe to CraveTV. CraveTV is only available to Bell, Telus and a few smaller BDUs and is unlikely to be available to subscribers of their competition. While Shomi and CraveTV are very similar in how they work, and both have lovely interfaces on the mobile platforms (though both were buggy on their web platforms), I would like to have the option to subscribe to CraveTV if I want to and not be locked in to Shomi because of my cable provider.
So, as a Canadian and a lover of television, CRTC regulation and the BDU business models are not working for me right now.