& 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.
Light Readingís Upskill U is a FREE, interactive, online educational resource that delivers must-have education on themes that relate to the overall business transformation taking place in the communications industry.
LIVE NOW!
Friday, December 2, 1:00PM EST
The SDN Approach to IP & Optical Integration
Sterling Perrin, Senior Analyst, Heavy Reading
UPCOMING COURSE SCHEDULE
Friday, December 2, 1:00PM EST
The SDN Approach to IP & Optical Integration
Sterling Perrin, Senior Analyst, Heavy Reading
in association with:
From The Founder
Light Reading today starts a new voyage as part of a larger Enterprise.
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.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Korn Ferry Consultant: How to Find, Cultivate & Be the Best Talent

11|30|16   |   4:10   |   (1) comment


Erin Callaghan, a managing consultant for Korn Ferry Futurestep, shares strategies for companies to improve how they recruit and for women to ensure they don't get lost in the pipeline.
LRTV Custom TV
We Can Make the World More Sustainable

11|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


GeSI is a global e-Sustainability Initiative organization bringing together 40 big multinational companies around the world. According to GeSI's report, information and communication technology can make the world more sustainable. Luis Neves, chairman of GeSI, shared with us his opinion at Ultra-broadband Forum (UBBF2016).
LRTV Custom TV
Finding a New Way to Engage Customers & Drive Revenue

11|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


Mobile revenues are declining. Digicel, a player in the Caribbean telecommunications/entertainment space, has found a new way to engage customers and drive revenue. John Quinn, CTO of Digicel, shared with us its story at Ultra-broadband Forum (UBBF2016)
LRTV Custom TV
Do You Really Need Gigabit Infrastructure?

11|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


Altibox is the biggest fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) player and the largest provider of video and TV in Norway. They started out with zero customers in 2002. Now they have close to half a million households and companies attached to their FTTH business. Nils Arne, CEO of Altibox shared with us their story and insight on 5G at Ultra-broadband Forum (UBBF2016).
LRTV Custom TV
BTís Openreach Strategy & Its Updates in 2016

11|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


A lot of developments at Openreach this year in terms of strategy and planned investments. Peter Bell, CIO of Openreach BT, shared with us the updates of Openreach at Ultra-broadband Forum (UBBF2016).
LRTV Custom TV
ITU: The Broadband Is Our Future

11|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


At Ultra-broadband Forum, Houlin Zhao, Secretary General of ITU, discussed how important it is for countries, companies and everybody to be working together to help to build the broadband and digital economies (UBBF2016).
LRTV Custom TV
Tackling 5G in Dallas

11|28|16   |     |   (0) comments


Here are our highlights of the 5G North America show in Dallas, Texas with Light Reading's Dan Jones.
LRTV Interviews
Cox Prepping for Virtualization Trials

11|14|16   |     |   (0) comments


In this video interview, Cox's Jeff Finkelstein discusses MSO's plans to test managed business services in early 2017 and tackle Distributed Access Architectures.
LRTV Custom TV
Drivers & Potential of NGP

11|11|16   |     |   (0) comments


ETSI has created an Industry Specification Group to work on Next Generation Protocols (NGP ISG), looking at evolving communications and networking protocols to provide the scale, security, mobility and ease of deployment required for the connected society of the 21st century. The NGP ISG will identify the requirements for next generation protocols and network ...
LRTV Custom TV
Huawei IP 2020 for Future Networks

11|11|16   |     |   (0) comments


Future Networks should satisfy many requirements such as high throughput, extremely low latency, flexible mobility, intrinsic security, networking automation, and so forth. The Chief Architect of Huawei Future Networks addresses a holistic solution, i.e., IP 2020, to achieve these requirements for various future life scenarios (e.g., autonomous driving, tactile ...
LRTV Custom TV
Digital Object Architecture

11|11|16   |     |   (0) comments


Digital Object Architecture provides a basic information infrastructure that can facilitate interoperability between or among different systems, processes, and other information resources, including different identity management systems. Digital objects are networked objects that are named by digital object identifiers and instantiated by an infrastructure service ...
LRTV Custom TV
BT's Openreach Has High Hopes for Long-Reach VDSL

11|11|16   |   06:04   |   (0) comments


Peter Bell, Network Portfolio CIO at BT's access business Openreach, talks about the operator's trial of a new broadband access technology called Long Reach VDSL.
Upcoming Live Events
December 6-8, 2016, The Westin Excelsior, Rome
May 16-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Hot Topics
AT&T Debuts DirecTV Now on New Video Platform
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 11/28/2016
Apple Seeds 5G? Seeks 'Multi-Gigabit' Chip Designer
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 11/30/2016
Altice Plans FTTH for Entire US Footprint
Iain Morris, News Editor, 11/30/2016
Altice FTTH Bill Could Hit Almost $9.6B in US
Iain Morris, News Editor, 12/1/2016
Samsung Bows to Investors, Considers Revamp
Iain Morris, News Editor, 11/29/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
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.
Join us for an in-depth interview between Steve Saunders of Light Reading and Alexis Black Bjorlin of Intel as they discuss the release of the company's Silicon Photonics platform, its performance, long-term prospects, customer expectations and much more.
Live Digital Audio

Even when there's a strong pipeline of female talent in the comms industry, it tends to leak all the way to the top. McKinsey & Company says women experience pipeline leakage at three primary points: being unable to enter, being stuck in the middle or being locked out of the top. Each pipeline pain point presents its own challenges, but also opportunities to stop the leak. Wireless operator Sprint is making a conscious effort to improve its own pipeline from new recruits to the C-suite, and it wants the rest of the industry to do the same. In this Women in Comms radio show, WiC Board Member and Sprint Vice President of Enterprise Sales Nelly Pitocco will give us her take on the industry's pipeline challenges. Pitocco, who joined Sprint in May and has spent 20 years in the comms industry, will also offer solutions, share how Sprint is tackling the challenge within its own organization and take your questions live on air.