Shomi & Showtime & Sony, Oh My!

Another day, another OTT news story. Even as Dish Network confirmed this week that it's on track to launch an online service before the end of the year, several other companies have announced progress with their own over-the-top video offerings. (See OTT Alert: Dish Still Aiming for 2014.)

First up, shomi -- the joint online effort by Rogers Communications Inc. (Toronto: RCI) and Shaw Communications Inc. in Canada -- officially entered beta trials on Monday. The subscription video-on-demand (SVoD) service, available for C$8.99 (US$7.86) per month, features multiscreen access to more than 11,000 hours of TV episodes and 1,200 movies and will compete against Netflix Canada. Initially, shomi is only available to existing Rogers and Shaw TV and Internet customers. However, the service is expected to open up to additional homes in the future. (See Rogers, Shaw Take Aim at Netflix.)

Showtime Networks Inc. , meanwhile, said yesterday that it's planning to follow in the footsteps of rival programmer Home Box Office Inc. (HBO) . On the company's quarterly earnings call, CBS Corp. (NYSE: CBS) CEO Leslie Moonves committed "fairly definitively" to introducing Showtime programming in an Internet service in 2015. (Hat tip, Engadget.) The OTT roadmap for Showtime isn't as clear as it is for HBO, which has provided more details about distribution partnerships and a little more clarity around timing, but the news is still a sign that the dam has broken. Showtime will join HBO, and Showtime's own parent network, CBS, in going over the top. (See HBO Will Go OTT in 2015 and CBS Takes OTT Plunge.)

Want to know more about OTT video? Check out our dedicated OTT content channel here on Light Reading.

Finally, Multichannel News has reported that Sony Corp. (NYSE: SNE) has signed new programmer deals for its upcoming OTT service. In addition to Viacom Inc. (NYSE: VIA), which was sealed up earlier this year, Sony has now added CBS and Discovery Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK) shows to its online lineup. All of that content comes at a price, however. News leaked last month that Sony's new service could cost subscribers as much as $60-$80 per month, or nearly the same as a traditional pay-TV subscription. (See Sony, Dish Hit OTT TV Pricing Wall and Sony, Viacom Strike Streaming Pact.)

Ironically, the new round of OTT news comes right after both Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) and Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) closed down their online SVoD services. Comcast is folding Streampix into its other existing Xfinity VoD offerings, while Redbox Instant by Verizon ceased operations entirely on October 7. So go figure. (See Comcast Turns Off Streampix and Gone in a Redbox Instant.)

— Mari Silbey, special to Light Reading

nasimson 11/13/2014 | 8:16:59 PM
Canadian & American OTT > .. shomi -- the joint online effort by Rogers Communications Inc. (Toronto: RCI) and
> Shaw Communications Inc. in Canada -- officially entered beta trials on Monday.

At the same time when Comcast & Verizon are wrapping their own service, Rogers and Shaw are launching theirs. What will these Canadian companies do right that American companies could not?
danielcawrey 11/8/2014 | 12:44:28 PM
Re: Getting Crowded Showtime is very much like a little brother to HBO – the original content just isn't as good. 

That said, I think it is certainly time for most of these original series providers to get into the online space. With Netflix and Amazon now producing content, I don't think that these premium networks have any other choice. 
KBode 11/7/2014 | 2:55:11 PM
Re: Getting Crowded I believe they hope that the new FCC rules giving them cable-company-esque access to vertically-integrated programming will somehow save them, but they'll have to pay more for content, immediately crushing their value proposition. So yeah, I think they're done. Most of their employees were fired this week, though I guess they still have a skeleton crew in NYC.
mendyk 11/7/2014 | 1:42:24 PM
Re: Getting Crowded Aereo's strategy already has been sorted out: Unconditional surrender.
KBode 11/7/2014 | 11:12:48 AM
Getting Crowded 2015's over the top lineup is getting crowded. Verizon Wireless, Sony, Dish, ESPN, Showtime, HBO, CBS....I'm sure I missed a few. Poor Aereo won't have much room to play in and be noticed by the time they sort out their strategy.
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