Canada's Bell Media Announces Launch Date for CraveTV Streaming Service

Michael Ansell/WBEI

At $4 per month, the offering aims to stop cable customers from defecting to Netflix Canada

Canada's Bell Media has announced a December launch date for its streaming Netflix competitor CraveTV.

CraveTV will be available to cable customers starting on Dec. 11. Priced at $4 a month, the service is cheaper than Netflix Canada, which costs $8 a month to subscribe, and the rival Canadian SVOD Shomi, which goes for $8.99 a month.

Unwrapped Wednesday morning during a Toronto press conference, CraveTV will offer more than 10,000 hours of catch-up viewing of mostly U.S. network series like The Big Bang Theory, Arrow and Manhattan. That includes 1,600 hours of programming from the HBO catalog.

Read more HBO Inks Exclusive Licensing Deal With Canada's Bell Media

"In a fast-paced media industry in which the consumer is king, CraveTV raises the bar and redefines the Canadian TV landscape by offering a complementary, premium product at an incredibly great value," said Bell Media president Kevin Crull in a statement on Wednesday. As an add-on to Bell Media's CTV, TMN and HBO Canada channels, CraveTV is not a stand-alone offering for broadband-only customers.

That retention bonus for cable TV subscribers leaves out cord-cutters as potential subscribers. The not-quite-Netflix clone will stream TV series only, not feature movies or kids fare, that come to CraveTV after Bell Media signed online content deals with a host of Hollywood suppliers, including HBO.

The discounted $4 a-month price tag also aims to take customers away from Netflix Canada, which launched here in late 2010 and dominates the local SVOD space with 4 million subscribers. CraveTV will be offered through traditional set-top boxes, mobile apps, online, game consoles and smart TVs.

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