Shaw Cable Launches Netflix-Like Movie Service

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The western Canadian cable giant is offering the Shaw Movie Club as Netflix Canada builds presence north of the border.

TORONTO – Western Canadian cable giant Shaw Communications is looking to get one over Netflix Canada by launching its own unlimited online movie streaming service.

Calgary-based Shaw is offering the Shaw Movie Club service for $12 month, with an initial 139 Hollywood movie titles on offer to subscribers, including The Expendables, Burlesque and Red.

The movie service, to be refreshed monthly with new titles, will be offered to existing Shaw subscribers, and will be available for viewing via their computers and digital TV set-top boxes.

The Shaw Movie Club aims to fend off competition from Netflix Canada’s popular $7 a-month film and TV streaming service, which is nearing 1 million subscribers here.

"The Shaw Movie Club brings our customers more choice and value - they get the best titles available to enjoy whenever, wherever they want,” Shaw president Peter Bissonnette explained.

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The cable giant got into early hot water over its online movie streaming service by indicating it will not count against the Internet data plans of Shaw subscribers.

That brought immediate criticism from Internet pressure group, which said Shaw recently introduced Internet usage billing to counter competition from Netflix and other U.S. digital platforms, even as it was now exempting Shaw Movie Club subscribers from usage caps.

Shaw quickly conceded that only viewing of the Shaw Movie Club on digital cable TV boxes would be exempt from data usage caps.

The expansion of Netflix into Canada in September 2010 has divided the Canadian industry between content carriers that have been scrambling to offer their own online VOD services, and indie producers that have been widely selling their library content to the U.S. video streaming giant.