Canadian Cable Giants Take on Netflix With Shomi

The new SVOD service will look to cut super content deals with the major studios

Streaming goliath Netflix finally has a Canadian competitor, Shomi, with a $100 million war chest to snap up new Hollywood movies and TV shows.

Local cable and TV giants Rogers Media and Shaw Media, locked in battle with Netflix Canada, on Tuesday unwrapped the new SVOD service to launch in November for $8.99 a month.

Shomi aims to get TV shows to subscribers sooner than Netflix as Rogers and Shaw already bought rookie and returning U.S. network shows at the Los Angeles Screenings.

Shomi will exclusively stream past seasons of U.S. shows, including Modern Family, Sons of Anarchy, Sleepy Hollow, New Girl and The Strain, while current seasons run on existing cable and VOD platforms from Rogers and Shaw.

To fluff up library content for their new video streaming portal, Rogers and Shaw will pursue so-called super content deals in Hollywood where they secure free, over-the-air cable, VOD, streaming mobile and SVOD rights in one go.

Rogers Media president Keith Pelley said the Canadian SVOD service will pay more for American programming, depending on the show and studio.

“It makes the dealmaking more complicated, but in some ways, it gives us more leverage because we are buying a collection of rights that at this point Netflix isn’t,” said Barb Williams, senior vp content at Shaw Media.

Shomi aims to slow the meteoric growth of a profitable Netflix Canada, which launched here in 2010 and has binge-worthy hits such as House of Cards and Orange Is the New Black.

Rogers and Shaw also aim to reduce cord-cutting as their cable subscribers increasingly take up Apple TV and other online video options.

Amazon and Hulu have yet to launch in Canada.

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