& cplSiteName &

Rogers Preps Online Streaming Service

Alan Breznick
1/13/2014
50%
50%

TORONTO -- Seeking to stem the erosion of its cable customer base, Rogers Communications is reportedly planning to launch its own online media streaming service to compete with Netflix across Canada this spring.

Rogers Communications Inc. (Toronto: RCI) is negotiating with most of the major Hollywood studios and rival media groups in Canada for the streaming rights to movies and TV shows, according to various press reports here. As first reported by Cartt.ca (subscription required) late last week, Rogers has already spent more than C$100 million (US$92 million) to build a catalog of on-demand programming for the new streaming service.

Rogers officials have declined to discuss their streaming plans so far. But they've made no secret of their interest in establishing such a service. The company, which was one of the first North American service providers out of the gate with a TV Everywhere service several years ago, has said for months that it's seriously exploring the video streaming market.

Industry sources told Carrt.ca that the new over-the-top (OTT) video service, tentatively called Showmi, will be modeled on Hulu Plus, the premium, ad-supported service run by Hulu LLC . In a blog post on the company's website last month, new Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins boasted that the pay service has now signed up more than 5 million subscribers, up from slightly more than 3 million a year earlier. Largely as a result of Hulu Plus, Hulu surpassed $1 billion in revenue in 2013 (See Hulu Flexes Fresh Muscles.)

With Showmi, Rogers aims to stave off Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX), which has made big inroads in Canada since crossing over the US border in September 2010. Although it offers far less content than its US counterpart, Netflix Canada signed up more than 1 million subscribers in its first year and now has an estimated 2 million to 3 million customers in a market with no more than 12 million TV households and close to 90% pay-TV penetration.

Rogers also hopes to stem the growing tide of video "cord-cutters" and "cord-shavers," who have either been eliminating their cable video subscriptions entirely or downgrading to much lower levels of service. Like just about all major North American MSOs, Rogers has been shedding basic cable subscribers for at least the past year, losing 100,000 video customers in the first three quarters of 2013 alone.

Indeed, cord-cutting has become a serious concern for video providers in Canada, just as in the US. In a study released in November, the Convergence Consulting Group estimated that about 400,000 Canadian TV households, or about 3.5% of all TV homes here, have jettisoned their pay-TV subscriptions since 2011.

Likewise, Rogers is looking to attract the growing number of "cord-nevers," mainly younger consumers in their teens and 20s who have never subscribed to pay TV and quite possibly never will because of all the free, or much cheaper, online fare available. Rogers executives have estimated that these consumers already make up nearly half of the Canadians who don't subscribe to a pay service now.

In making this move, Rogers appear to be aping the strategy of Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) south of the border. Comcast launched its own media streaming service, StreamPix, for its Xfinity TV subscribers, to compete with Netflix. The service costs subscribers up to $4.99 per month. (See Comcast Goes OTT to Target Netflix, Hulu Plus.)

But StreamPix hasn't exactly knocked Netflix for a loop in the US quite yet. Nor has it apparently stemmed Comcast's video subscriber losses all that much. Possibly as a result, Comcast is one of several major US MSOs reportedly negotiating now with Netflix to offer the media streaming king's service to cable subscribers.

— Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading

(3)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
albreznick
50%
50%
albreznick,
User Rank: Blogger
1/15/2014 | 12:06:01 PM
Re: Too little,too late?
Sure sounds like it, David. I'm not sure whether Rogers, or just about any MSO, is up to that task. This idea would make a wonderful blog for us, tho. (Hint hint, Nudge nudge)    
David Dines
50%
50%
David Dines,
User Rank: Blogger
1/13/2014 | 5:28:26 PM
Re: Too little,too late?
I do not have the Netflix market share numbers for Canada available so it is hard to know how much of headstart they have.  I would say that Rogers' success is more dependent on their own executiion: the pricing, content library, user interace/ease of discovery, marketing and customer care.  I have noticed that most consumers don't like 1) their cable companies, 2) being nickel and dimed on charges and 3) suprises on their bills.  

Therefore, in order to be a credible competitor to Netflix, MSOs have their work cut out for them.
albreznick
50%
50%
albreznick,
User Rank: Blogger
1/13/2014 | 1:11:33 PM
Too little,too late?
I think this is a good move by Rogers. But I wonder if it's a bit too late. They gave Netflix an awfully big head start in the Canadian market. It might not be possible to cut Netflix off at the pass anymore.
From The Founder
Cisco's Conrad Clemson, recently promoted to head up the company's Service Provider Apps & Platforms developments, talks to Light Reading's Founder and CEO Steve Saunders about how he's bringing cloud video, mobile and virtualization together to empower network operators.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Custom TV
ADVA Talks Innovation & the Future of Networking

1|17|17   |     |   (0) comments


Ray Le Maistre and Christoph Glingener, CTO of ADVA Optical Networking, discuss the current state of the industry, cooperation and collaboration, open innovation and the future of networking.
LRTV Custom TV
Cisco's Infinite Video Platform

1|17|17   |     |   (0) comments


Cisco's Infinite Video Platform allows service providers to deliver broadcast-quality video over IP networks. Infinite video supports many devices, from 4K TVs to tablets to game consoles. Join Cisco's Rajeev Raman for a brief tour and live demo.
LRTV Interviews
Masergy: Ability to Adapt Key for NFV

1|16|17   |   6:40   |   (0) comments


Speaking at Light Reading's 2020 Vision in Rome, Masergy's VP, Global Technology, Ray Watson, said agility is key to providing the mix and match NFV-based services that are driving business for the managed service provider today.
LRTV Interviews
Equinix: The Data Explosion

1|13|17   |   4:16   |   (0) comments


At Light Reading's 2020 Vision in Rome, Eric Schwartz, president of EMEA, Equinix, talked about how Equinix is helping its customers manage the influx of data today, and how it's preparing for a future filled with millions of connected IoT devices.
LRTV Interviews
Heavy Reading: The Changing Data Center Landscape

1|12|17   |   6:05   |   (1) comment


At Light Reading's 2020 Vision event in Rome, Heavy Reading's Senior Analyst Roz Roseboro talks about how virtualization is impacting data center evolution and how that evolution is affecting the relationship between service providers, data center operators and public cloud providers.
LRTV Interviews
Boingo: Prepping for Millions of Devices

1|12|17   |   5:07   |   (1) comment


At Light Reading's 2020 Vision in Rome, Boingo's CTO Derek Peterson discusses how wireless operators will address the needs of low-bandwidth and high-bandwidth apps at the same time, the need for more MHz, the impact of IoT and more.
LRTV Interviews
Comcast Shows Off Gig Gateway at CES

1|11|17   |     |   (1) comment


With its largest presence at CES in years, Comcast took the wraps off its long-awaited gigabit gateway and a new platform for managing the home WiFi network. Light Reading Senior Editor Mari Silbey sat down with EVP Chris Satchell to discuss the latest Comcast advance, and met with VP of Product Strategy and Development Andrea Peiro to walk through a demo of the ...
LRTV Interviews
Colt: End-to-End Key for 2017

1|10|17   |   6:21   |   (0) comments


At Light Reading's 2020 Vision Executive Summit in Rome, Nico Fischbach of Colt said having a multi-carrier, end-to-end service proposition is going to be key for 2017 -- and SD-WAN is instrumental in making it happen.
From the Founder
Cisco's Clemson on Mobile Cloud Video

1|9|17   |     |   (1) comment


Cisco's Conrad Clemson, recently promoted to head up the company's Service Provider Apps & Platforms developments, talks to Light Reading's Founder and CEO Steve Saunders about how he's bringing cloud video, mobile and virtualization together to empower network operators. "If you think about where we're going… whether it's a mobile application, or a video ...
LRTV Custom TV
VMware Telco NFV Solutions – Preparing for 5G & IOT

1|9|17   |     |   (0) comments


Shekar Ayyar, EVP & Corporate Strategy/General Manager of Telco for VMware, discusses VMware's Telco NFV solutions role and foundation for the Imminent Arrival of 5G & IOT.
LRTV Interviews
Heavy Reading: Big Video Set to Disrupt

1|6|17   |   4:39   |   (0) comments


At Light Reading's 2020 Vision Executive Summit in Rome, Heavy Reading's Adi Kishore talks about the challenges of managing and monetizing bandwidth-intensive video, and how service providers will need to transform their networks to cope with the big video explosion.
LRTV Interviews
Heavy Reading: IoT Set to Disrupt

1|5|17   |   7:07   |   (0) comments


Heavy Reading's Senior Analyst of IoT, Steve Bell, tells Light Reading how the Internet of Things (IoT) will transform service provider markets, business models and mindsets, and how virtualizing the network core and Fog networking is key to meeting the agility and flexibility demands of IoT in the future.
Upcoming Live Events
May 15-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Hot Topics
Ericsson: 5G Heralds 'New' New Economy
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 1/12/2017
5G: Another Next-Generation Disappointment?
Iain Morris, News Editor, 1/10/2017
How AT&T's FCC End Run Could Backfire
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading, 1/10/2017
Who Needs a Gig? Verizon's Got 750 Mbit/s
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 1/12/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders chats with Sportlogiq CEO Craig Buntin about sports data analysis.
Eyal Waldman, CEO of Mellanox Technologies, speaks to Steve Saunders, CEO of Light Reading, for an exclusive interview about the 100 GB cable challenge, cybersecurity and much more.
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

Playing it safe can only get you so far. Sometimes the biggest bets have the biggest payouts, and that is true in your career as well. For this radio show, Caroline Chan, general manager of the 5G Infrastructure Division of the Network Platform Group at Intel, will share her own personal story of how she successfully took big bets to build a successful career, as well as offer advice on how you can do the same. We’ll cover everything from how to overcome fear and manage risk, how to be prepared for where technology is going in the future and how to structure your career in a way to ensure you keep progressing. Chan, a seasoned telecom veteran and effective risk taker herself, will also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air.