Toronto: Fandor to Launch Canadian Streaming Movie Site (Exclusive)


TORONTO -- U.S. streaming-movie site Fandor is headed to Canada.

The San Francisco-based on-demand service that offers indie, classic and foreign films will launch a Canadian site with an initial 2,200 titles.

The Canadian service will mark Fandor's international debut after it launched stateside in 2011.

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Fandor Canada will cost the same as the American offering: $10 month or $90 a year.

Fandor founder and CEO Dan Aronson is betting Canadians will look beyond the excitement of this week's Toronto Film Festival to get their fix of indie, classic and foreign titles year-round via his subscription VOD service.

"We decided that there was enough value and a lot of interesting things happening at TIFF. So we've been asked to launch in Canada," he told The Hollywood Reporter.

Fandor Canada also aims to supplement, rather than replace, Netflix Canada, which has more than 1 million subscribers here and has taken a big chunk of business from Canadian TV networks with mostly movies and dramas such as Orange Is the New Black and House of Cards.

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"Your typical consumer is interested in a bunch of things. It's not going to be Fandor or Netflix. It's what are the things we're interested in," Aronson argued.

He added that the Canadian market is underserved when it comes to VOD, especially as half of the country's Internet users watch movies online.

That may not last for long as domestic cable and phone giants bolster their VOD movie offerings.

Cable giant Rogers Communications is taking aim at Netflix Canada with its own online offering, launching soon. As well, BCE's Bell Media division recently acquired Astral Media and its The Movie Network pay TV service to better compete across digital platforms.

Aronson insisted that Fandor offering carefully curated films will help fend off the competition as it targets Canadians looking to stream unlimited films across a range of platforms and digital devices.

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"If you're bringing movies to people that don't have mass marketing behind them, you want to ensure they're not looking through too much stuff," he explained.

Fandor Canada will feature films from suppliers like Kino Lorber, Zeitgeist, Vanguard Cinema and FilmBuff that hold North American rights to titles.

The service is not yet indicating which Canadian distributors it has signed up as partners, but it expects to unveil deals shortly.

Past Toronto film festival titles to launch on Fandor Canada out of the gate include Lu Chuan's City of Life and Death, Susan Seidelman's Smithereens and Denis Cote's Carcasses, which launched at Toronto in 2009.

Fandor Canada will also offer its U.S. distribution and revenue model north of the border, which puts 50 percent of subscription fees into supporting indie filmmakers.

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