NBCUniversal to Launch Reality TV Streaming Service in Canada

Keeping Up with the Kardashians 2015-2016 - Photofest-H 2016
E! Entertainment Television/Photofest

Hayu, featuring 'Keeping Up with the Kardashians,' its spinoffs and 'The Real Housewives' earlier launched in Europe and Australia.

NBCUniversal International on Wednesday unveiled plans to launch Hayu — a subscription VOD service focused on reality TV shows — in Canada by the end of the year.

The streaming service — featuring series like Keeping Up With the Kardashians and spinoffs, along with The Real Housewives and Million Dollar Listing — earlier launched in the U.K., Ireland, Australia and Scandinavia on digital devices like mobile phones, tablets, laptops and connected TVs.

The Hollywood studio will be hoping Hayu fares better than another NBCUniversal digital platform, the comedy-focused Seeso streaming service, which shut its doors last year. "Given that reality content is hugely popular in Canada, we are pleased to be readying Hayu — an SVOD product with a proven track record — specifically curating the service for Canadian fans of the genre," Hendrik McDermott, senior vp branded on-demand at NBCUniversal, said in a statement.

Hayu will face stiff streaming competition in Canada. Netflix and Amazon Prime are already dominant video platforms here, and CBS recently launched its CBS All Access streamer north of the border, its first expansion into an international market.

Local broadcaster Bell Media has separate long-term licensing deals with U.S. cable channels Showtime, HBO and Starz to compete against market-leader Netflix Canada with its own streaming service, CraveTV.

Canadians are already fans of a number of the NBCU shows on Hayu, as many of the series, including the Top Chef franchises, I Am Cait, Made in Chelsea, Shahs of Sunset and The Millionaire Matchmaker are likely to have already aired here on local broadcast and cable platforms.

There's no word on pricing for the local Hayu streamer. New episodes will be added to the Canadian service mostly on the same day as a series premieres in the U.S., with over 5,000 episodes from around 150 shows added to the service each year.

And all seasons or box sets of the reality series mean fans of unscripted content can catch up on their favorite series on the Hayu app from the beginning.