Netflix takes Internet films, TV to Canada

New competition for VOD services from cable, phone giants

TORONTO -- On guard Canadian VOD services. Netflix is coming to Canada.

The California-based movie rental firm featured a teaser ad Monday on its corporate website that promised Canadian subscribers a variety of movies and TV shows beginning this fall.

Netflix said Canadian subscribers will be able to instantly watch content on their TV sets via consumer electronics devices that can stream from Netflix, as well as on PC and Mac computers.

The distributor will not provide a DVD-by-mail service north of the border, at least for now, and gave no pricing details for its Internet streaming service.

The website landing page invites Canadians to sign up and receive upcoming news about Netflix expanding north of the border.

Netflix said its Canadian offering will initially bow in English only, with a French-language service to follow.

BMO Capital Markets in a client note Monday raised its stock price target for Netflix on the Canadian expansion, adding "we believe international opportunities represent a potentially significant source of growth for Netflix as the company builds out the infrastructure and the business model to serve videos into multiple markets via its Watch Instantly service."

Netflix migrating to Canada portends stiff competition for domestic VOD services from domestic cable and phone giants increasingly sprouting up nationwide.

The latest came from Shaw Communications with its new online video portral, Shaw Video on Demand, and Quebec cable giant Groupe Videotron launching its own on-demand Illico Web service.

Cable giant Rogers Communications got the Canadian video portal market rolling when it launched Rogers On Demand Online as a beta site in late 2009, followed by a similar "TV Everywhere" offering from Bell TV, and Quebec-based Radio-Canada introducing Tou.TV as an online extension of the French-language public broadcast service.
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