Amazon Set to Stream 'Channels' Into Canada

Looking to slice off a piece of Canada's pay-TV market, Amazon is close to bringing its aggregated subscription video Prime Video Channels concept north of the US border with a wide range of offerings and packages, including a new 12-channel bundle called StackTV that features networks such as Food Network, History and HGTV.

Amazon said it would "soon" launch Prime Video Channels in Canada, but did not announce a precise date.

StackTV, a service offered in partnership with Canada's Corus Entertainment, will run C$12.99 ($9.67) per month, and feature live TV feeds and VoD content from Adult Swim, Food Network, Global, HGTV, History, National Geographic, Slice, Showcase, Teletoon, Treehouse, W Network and YTV.

Streaming Into Canada
Amazon's Prime Video Channels OTT service for the Canadian market will include a mix of live TV and VoD subscription services.
Amazon's Prime Video Channels OTT service for the Canadian market will include a mix of live TV and VoD subscription services.

The 12-channel StackTV is just one of several other subscription services that will be part of the soon-to-be-launched Amazon Channels offering for Canada. The following will also be available on an à la carte basis, though customers will still need a separate subscription to Amazon Prime:

  • Acorn TV: British TV, for C$7.47/$5.56;
  • hayu: From NBCUniversal International, for C$5.99/$4.46;
  • Hollywood Suite: A movie package for C$4.99/$3.71;
  • Love Nature: Nature-focused documentaries and series for C$3.99/$2.97;
  • MGM: TV series and films from MGM Studios for C$3.99/$2.97;
  • Nickelodeon: For C$5.99/$4.46;
  • OUTtv: LGBTQ+-focused programming and content for C$3.99/$2.97
  • Shudder: A horror and thriller video service from AMC Networks for C$5.99/$4.46;
  • Smithsonian Channel: Fetches C$3.99/$2.97 per month;
  • Starz: The premium video service with films and original series for C$5.99/$4.46;
  • Sundance Now: For C$6.99/$5.21 per month; and,
  • Super Channel: Four linear channels and a VoD library for C$9.99/$7.44.

All monthly subscription OTT video services under the Channels banner in Canada will be sold without long-term contracts, Amazon said. Amazon Prime subs will also be able to access those subscriptions using a single login and unified bill, a streamlined process that is also being used by OTT rivals such as Roku (via The Roku Channel) and Apple, which recently introduced a "Channels" offering of its own that aggregates and curates OTT subscription services.

Greg Hart, VP of Amazon Prime Video, told CBC that Amazon hopes it can fill a big content gap and eventually add sports networks and content to its Channels offering in Canada. "We'd love to have sports available… and we look forward to adding that," he told the publication. "Sometimes those are a little more complicated to bring off."

Taking on Canadian pay-TV
Amazon's new streaming packages for Canada caters to TV cord-cutters and the nation's various incumbent pay-TV service providers, including Rogers Communications, Shaw Communications, Telus, Bell Canada and Videotron, among others. Of that group, Rogers, Shaw and Videotron have deployed or are preparing to deploy IP-delivered, multiscreen pay-TV services based on Comcast's X1 platform.

Comcast, meanwhile, has also launched a video streaming and smart home service targeted to broadband-only customers, called Xfinity Flex. Comcast has made it clear that Comcast's X1 syndication partners will also have an opportunity to stand up and launch their own versions of the Flex product.

Amazon's launch of Prime Video Channels in Canada follows debuts of similar offerings in the US, UK, Germany, Austria and Japan.

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— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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