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January 22, 2024
Canada's Telus is the latest broadband and video services operator to aggregate and bundle together a set of popular streaming services.
Introduced late last week, Telus' new "Stream+" bundles bring together various ad-supported and ad-free Netflix and Disney+ tiers, along with Amazon Prime (which includes a streaming catalog) at a discounted rate of about 17%.
Here's how Telus' new streaming bundles break down:
Stream+ Basic: Netflix Standard with ads (regularly C$5.99/US$4.45 per month), Disney+ Basic with ads (regularly C$7.99/US$5.94 per month), Amazon Prime (regularly C$9.99/US$7.43 per month) and Telus' own Films & Series offering. Telus is selling the combo for C$20/US$14.88 per month, compared to an unbundled price of C$23.97/US$17.81.
Stream+ Premium: Netflix's ad-free Premium tier (regularly C$20.99/US$15.60 per month), Disney+ ad-free Premium tier (C$14.99/US$11.14 per month), Amazon Prime (regularly C$9.99/US$7.43 per month) and Telus Films & Series. Telus is selling Stream+ Premium for C$38/US$28.24 per month, versus an unbundled price of C$45.97/US$34.16.
Telus, which counts Rogers Communications as one of its primary competitors in the Canadian market, estimates that both bundles deliver a discount of 17% off the regular retail price of those individual services.
"Canadians will now be able to enjoy thousands of top titles from the three most popular streaming services, at savings you can't find anywhere else," Dwayne Benefield, chief product officer at Telus, said in a statement. Benefield, an exec who previously ran PlayStation Vue, Sony's virtual multichannel video programming distributor (vMVPD) offering that shut down in January 2020, noted that additional streaming services will be added to Telus' Stream+ bundles in the coming months.
Per Telus' Stream+ FAQ, customers with an existing Netflix or Amazon Prime account can link their accounts so they don't lose their watch history and other account details. Once that link is completed, the existing account and billing will transfer over to Telus. The process is similar for Disney+, but Telus notes that customers might need to manage their existing subscription to avoid being double-billed.
Notably, Telus customers can't upgrade Stream+ Basic to Stream+ Premium or downgrade from Stream+ Premium to Stream+ Basic. Instead, customers who have purchased one of those options must cancel the plan, wait for their invoice cycle to reset, and then purchase their desired Stream+ plan.
Building on the bundling trend
Telus' Stream+ plans build on a broader trend in which broadband and pay-TV service providers are seeking ways to help customers aggregate and bundle direct-to-consumer streaming services.
Verizon is tackling it with +play, an offering that allows customers to bundle in a wide range of subscription-based services, including Max, Paramount+, Netflix, Disney+, Discovery+, Hallmark Movies Now and AMC+, among others.
Among other variations on the theme, Charter Communications last month started to make the ad-supported Disney+ tier available to most of its pay-TV subscribers for no added cost, with plans to add ESPN+ to the mix soon.
Update: Charter today struck a new, multi-year carriage deal with TelevisaUnivision that includes the programmer's Spanish-language channels as well as an ad-supported premium subscription version of the ViX premium streaming service that will debut later this year. Charter will make that ad-supported version of ViX available to pay-TV subs who receive TelevisaUnivision channels as part of their Spectrum TV Select or Mi Plan Latino packages for no additional charge.
Though many North American pay-TV service providers are losing customers, Telus bucked the trend in Q3 2023 by adding 20,000 pay-TV subs, extending its total to 1.37 million.
Telus' move to offer a discounted bundle of streaming services could put more pressure on Rogers to do the same. Rogers currently integrates several streaming services, including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Tubi and Disney+, on its Ignite platform, which is underpinned by Rogers' X1 syndication agreement with Comcast.
Senior Editor, Light Reading
Baumgartner also served as Site Editor for Light Reading Cable from 2007-2013. In between his two stints at Light Reading, he led tech coverage for Multichannel News and was a regular contributor to Broadcasting + Cable. Baumgartner was named to the 2018 class of the Cable TV Pioneers.
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