Netflix Pushed Canadian SVOD Spend Past $1 Billion in 2018

With Canada Netflix’s highest household penetration market, it’s no surprise consumer spending on subscription streaming video across the northern border surpassed CA$1 billion in 2018, according to new data from Futuresource Consulting. Overall spend on video entertainment in Canada remained flat at CA$11.3 billion.

By 2022, video entertainment in Canada is expected to be a CA$12 billion market, with SVOD carving out significant market share. In 2018, pay-TV accounted for 74% of the market, with SVOD and box office accounting for 9% each. However, by 2022 consumer spend on SVOD will be twice that of box office and therefore accounting for 17% of all video entertainment spend.

“SVOD spend broke through the CA$1 billion mark in 2018, up 33% with 11.3 million subscriptions,” Tristan Veale, market analyst at Futuresource Consulting, said in a statement. “This was driven by market leader Netflix, which reached 6.3 million subscribers, despite a steep price hike in 2018.”

The research firm said 58% of Canadian households have at least one over-the-top video subscription, with household penetration reaching 69% by 2022 — equal with pay-TV.

Growth was driven in part by Bell Media’s revamped Crave SVOD service which saw a nearly doubling of subs in 2018 – thanks in part to assimilation of pay-TV operator’s The Movie Network channel; in addition to Amazon Prime Video.

The rise in SVOD spend contributed to 8% drop in transactional (packaged media and digital) home entertainment revenue to CA$853 million.

Futuresource said consumers are buying more digital content digitally than renting — with EST spending projected to surpass transactional VOD and on-demand pay-TV by 2022.

Indeed, Canadians are buying more digital movies with nearly 7 million EST transactions recorded in 2018 — up 18% from 2017. Apple iTunes continues to drive EST sales in Canada, which accounted for over two thirds of spend across movies and TV content. Other services include Google Play Movies and Cinemax.

“There are an estimated 1.3 million Apple TVs in use in Canada, equivalent to 10% of households,” said Veale. “This means consumers have an easy way to watch premium content on a big screen, driving increased buying.”

Notably, Amazon has yet to commit to digital rental/sales of movies and TV shows in Canada, in addition to France, Italy and Spain.

“When it does launch, it could be a catalyst to propel these markets to the next level,” Veale said.

 

Starz Bows Pay-TV, Streaming Service in Canada

As expected, Starz has officially launched service across the northern border in Canada. The Lionsgate-owned media company is now available via two Bell Media pay-TV linear channels as well as a $5.99 monthly add-on to Bell’s standalone over-the-top video platform Crave.ca.

The Canadian presence follows launch of Starz Play Arabia in 2015, which is currently available in 17 countries in the Middle East.

Starz presence in Canada aims to counter Netflix, which bowed service in the country in 2010 and now reportedly has more than six million subscribers.

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To do that, Starz is offering original programming, select library titles, and classic films from all eras, including new millennial comedy series, “Now Apocalypse,” from filmmaker Gregg Araki (Kaboom, winner of the first-ever Queer Palm Award at the Cannes Film Festival in 2010).

Streaming March 10 before its television premiere on Starz that evening, the new, coming-of-age, half-hour comedy series was an official selection of the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, and stars Canadian actor Avan Jogia, as well as Tyler Posey, Kelli Berglund, Beau Mirchoff, and Roxane Mesquida.

Other original content includes spy-thriller, “The Rook,” premiering this summer; past seasons of “Power, Party Down, and “TheGirlfriend Experience”; critical darlings “Vida” and “Sweetbitter”; in addition to hundreds of movies.

Catalog series include:

  • AMERICA TO ME, Season 1 (March 10)
  • BLACK SAILS, Season 1-4
  • BOSS, Season 1-2
  • COUNTERPART, Season 1-2
  • DAN VS., Season 1-3
  • DAVINCI’S DEMONS, Season 1-3
  • THE GIRLFRIEND EXPERIENCE, Season 1
  • GRAVITY
  • MAGIC CITY, Season 1-2 (April)
  • NOW APOCALPYSE (March 10)
  • PARTY DOWN, Season 1-2
  • POWER, Season 1-4 (Season 5 coming soon)
  • SURVIVOR’S REMORSE, Season 1-4
  • SWEETBITTER, Season 1 (new season 2019)
  • VIDA, Season 1 (new season 2019)
  • WARRIORS OF LIBERTY CITY (coming soon)
  • THE WHITE QUEEN
  • THE WHITE PRINCESS
  • WRONG MAN

Starz Launching Pay-TV, Streaming Service in Canada

Starz and Bell Media announced the launch of a new Starz channel and streaming service in Canada, beginning March 1.

Lionsgate-owned Starz, which claims to be second most-watched pay television service in the United States, will rebrand Starz Encore as Starz across two linear channels and on-demand platforms via participating television providers.

The following week, Starz becomes available directly to all Canadians online as an add-on to over-the-top platform Crave for an additional $5.99/month. Starz streaming can be accessed via Crave.ca, the Crave app on iOS and Android, and Apple TV Generation 4, with additional platforms rolling out in the coming months.

“Bringing Starz to Canada is testimony to the continued commitment to offer our viewers exclusive, premium programming at an unparalleled value,” Tracey Pearce, president, distribution and pay, Bell Media, said in a statement.

Bell said Crave has reached 2.3 million subscribers since the launch of the all-new Crave last November. With the addition of Starz, Crave subs now have access to a programming lineup that includes HBO, Showtime,movies, Vice, kids programming and originals.

In addition to local favorites “Vida” and “Counterpart,” and drama “Sweetbitter,” Starz originals include surreal coming-of-age comedy series, “NowApocalypse (March 10); female-led, spy thriller, “The Rook” (2019), starring Emma Greenwell and Olivia Munn; and recently greenlit series “Hightown” and “P-Valley.”

Back seasons include “BlackSails,” the comedy “PartyDown,” critically-acclaimed limited series, “TheGirlfriend Experience,” and long-running series “Power”, which currently ranks as the second highest-rated premium scripted series this year in the U.S., among 18-49 and 25-54, with an average viewership of over 10 million.

“We are excited to see this opportunity come to fruition and look forward to introducing Canadian audiences to all of the premium content that Starz has to offer,” said Superna Kalle, EVP, international digital

Starz Bows App on LG Televisions

Starz March 29 announced the launch of its Starz app on select LG Smart TVs, including the recently debuted 2018 LG OLED TVs and LG Super UHD TVs with AI ThinQ.

Starz subscribers, including pay-TV and standalone over-the-top, can now watch original series, including “Counterpart,” “Power,” “Outlander,” “American Gods,” as well as hundreds of movies and first-run films on LG Smart TVs via LG’s webOS Smart TV platform.

The app on LG Smart TVs is a single destination for all subscribers who want to stream Starz premium content. It features intuitive content discovery and navigation regardless how the consumer purchased a subscription to Starz.

Starz, which is owned by Lionsgate, earlier this year entered into a multifaceted agreement with Bell Media in Canada.

The deal marked the first international launch of Starz since the Lionsgate acquisition in December 2016 as well as the first time it would be available in Canada. Starz content will be available across all Bell Media platforms, including TMN Encore and streaming service CraveTV.

Starz Going to Canada

Starz, the premium pay-TV platform owned by Lionsgate, is launching its streaming app in Canada through Bell Media.

It marks the first expansion for Starz within Canada following Lionsgate’s $4.4 billion acquisition in 2016.

Bell will also distribute the first pay window of Lionsgate’s future theatrical releases in Canada.

The multifaceted agreement is aimed at competing against Netflix and other SVOD services challenges Canada’s pay-TV ecosystem. Bell and Starz will also rebrand the former’s pay television network The Movie Network Encore and streaming service CraveTV next year.

TMN Encore will be rebranded in early 2019, with a slate of Starz programming and a broad selection of Lionsgate movies and television shows. The newly branded service will also be available on a direct-to-consumer basis.

“This agreement creates the perfect foundation for the growth of Starz in the territory,” CEO Chris Albrecht said in a statement.

Starz features over 7,000 feature film and television titles, including “Power,” “Girlfriend Experience,” “Vida,” and “Sweetbitter.”

“Starz is making waves with fresh content that’s resonating with audiences around the world. We’re delighted … as well as to partner with Lionsgate on the distribution of their film properties going forward,” said Randy Lennox, president, Bell Media.

Bell Media’s collaboration with Lionsgate also encompasses future exclusive first-window access to the studio’s slate of hit Hollywood movies. All Lionsgate films will also be available to subscribers of Bell Media’s French-language Pay TV service, Super Écran.

“Bell Media is the ideal partner to introduce Starz to Canadian audiences,” said Lionsgate President of Worldwide Television & Digital Distribution Jim Packer.  “The Canadian marketplace offers tremendous opportunities for growth, and this multifaceted agreement enables us to deliver the robust slate of Starz premium programming as well as the future first pay television window for Lionsgate and Summit Entertainment films to Bell Media platforms.”

“Starz series and Lionsgate films add hundreds of hours of premium content every year to our already-rich offering,” said Tracey Pearce, President, Distribution and Pay, Bell Media. “We can’t wait to introduce the evolution of TMN Encore as it transforms into a newly-rebranded premier pay TV platform.”