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.

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"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.