Disney+ Begins Cracking Down on Password Sharing — in Canada

Disney+ has begun sending out emails to Canadian subscribers informing them of new guidelines aimed at shutting down the practice of sharing user passwords with non-subscribers, effective Nov. 1.

Disney told North-of-the-border subscribers that going forward they would no longer be able to share a password outside their household as part of a new subscriber agreement in Canada. An updated subscriber agreement in the U.S. is expected later this year.

“Unless otherwise permitted by your service tier, you may not share your subscription outside of your household,” read the email first reported by Engadget

The move follows Netflix’s decision to block share passwords it claimed involved about 100 million subs worldwide. Now, subs have to pay a $7.99 monthly premium to include non-members to their account. The same price as the ad-supported Disney+ option.

Disney+ has not disclosed how much it will charge subs to include third-party non-members.

Roku: Canadian Internet Users Prefer Streaming Ad-Supported Content on the TV

TV streaming is now the most popular TV source, with 75% of Canadian internet users streaming video, according to new data from Roku. The SVOD market co-creator (with Netflix) contends ad-supported TV streaming increased to 59% of the market this year, compared to 42% in the previous year period. Another 63% said they also plan to watch ad-supported streaming content on the TV in the year ahead.

Roku, which cited an internal survey 2,100 Canadians between June and July 2023, said inflation and cost of living top the list of worries among Canadian streamers, with 24% planning to cancel or downgrade their pay-TV cable/satellite package in the next 12 months — up 6% from 2022.

“The uptick in interest in ad-supported TV streaming, along with TV streaming generally, enables greater reach beyond traditional TV broadcasting…,” Christina Summers, head of advertising in Canada, Roku, said in a statement.

Roku said the time spent on AVOD and broadcast VOD is up 32% from last year, with TV streamers, with streamers significantly more responsive to ads than non-streamers (70% vs. 54%).

“Tapping into the TV streaming audience is a great opportunity for many brands to reach consumers, who have made the move to streaming exclusively and to win new customers who may not have discovered them before,” Summers said.

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The percentage of TV streamers who makes changes to their streaming services, including switching to watch their favorite show, cancelling services, among others,” continues to remain prevalent, according to the survey. Almost half (48%) of Canadian TV streamers have made changes to their streaming services in the past 12 months, or plan to make changes in the year ahead. Similar to last year’s findings, this persisting trend is likely influenced by the fact that 58% of TV streamers feel they have less disposable income than before, consistent with last year’s results.

On average, the survey found Canadian TV streamers have used/subscribed to 3.5 paid or free streaming services in their household in 2023, which is anticipated to increase to 3.8 by 2024.

The average Canadian TV streamers spend 26% of time watching live TV, while 20% focus on new releases available for the first time: 18% on repeat watching; and 17% opt for online TV services.

Paramount+ Partners With VIDAA Operating System to Distribute Streaming Service to Smart-TVs in Canada, Latin America

Paramount+ has partnered with the TV software operating system VIDAA to help distribute the subscription streaming VOD platform across connected televisions in Canada and Latin America. VIDAA OS software runs smart televisions manufactured by Toshiba and Hisense, among others.

South American countries targeted for Paramount+ access include Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela.

The expanded partnership builds on VIDAA’s initial launch of Paramount+ on VIDAA devices in the U.S. in May 2022.

Latin America consumers will also be able to access Paramount+ live soccer coverage, including the English Premier League in Mexico and Central America, the CONMEBOL Libertadores cup across all Latin America and the CONMEBOL Sudamericana in Brazil.

The deal is an opportunity to get Paramount+ content, characters, and franchises available to an increasingly larger audience,” Marco Nobili, EVP and International GM for Paramount+, said in a statement.

Paramount and VIDAA previously partnered to include the ad-supported VOD/FAST Pluto TV branded button on VIDAA’s TV remote controls sold in CanadaGermanyFranceItalySpain and the U.K.

Canada and Latin America are incredibly important markets for VIDAA,” said Nick Ruczaj, VP global head of content and business development at VIDAA. “This in turn helps support our OEM partners as well as creating more comprehensive advertising solutions for those looking to reach and engage audiences, whether that be locally, nationally or globally.”

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Roku: More Than Half of Canadian TV Streamers Opt for Ad-Supported Video Access

Roku Jan. 19 reported that 76% of Canadians stream television content, with 52% of them opting for ad-supported VOD and/or free ad-supported streaming TV (FAST) access. Roku disclosed the results in its third annual Video-on-Demand (VOD) Evolution study, examining Canadian TV streaming behaviors and trends.

Citing a commissioned survey, Roku said that 18% of Canadian households plan to cancel or downgrade their pay-TV service in the next 12 months, and 47% are looking to make changes to their TV streaming services. Notably, 29% of TV streamers have never subscribed to pay-TV.

In addition to manufacturing consumer electronics connecting household televisions to the internet, Roku has operated ad-supported The Roku Channel since 2017 offering original and licensed content.

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Christina Summers, head of advertising at Roku Canada, said the growth in TV streaming gives an advantage to both marketers and publishers. Marketers can extend their reach beyond traditional TV broadcasting with stronger ad targeting, measurement, and ROI outcomes, according to Summers, while publishers can tap into new audience segments and better monetize existing and often dormant catalogs.

“For Canadian TV streamers, flexibility for the type of entertainment they want, anytime they want, is what makes streaming so appealing,” Summers said in a statement.

When it comes to content, Roku contends live TV is No. 1 with 49% of Canadians watching sports and other events on demand through TV streaming. This trend is up from from 30% using VOD services to stream live TV in 2020.

As ad-supported TV popularity grows, Canadian TV streamers are spending five hours per week streaming (up 14% year-over-year), with the majority (76%) also taking measurable actions such as searching for more information, visiting the brand, adding to basket after seeing targeted ads, according to Roku.

Citing third-party data from MAGNA Media Trials, which suggests targeted video ads are twice as effective as linear TV ads, Roku said that 48% of Canadian streamers under 35 prefer when the tone of a TV ad matches the program in which they see it; and 47% more likely to pay attention to ads that reflect or are relevant to their mood. Some Canadians are also interested in engaging with ad formats such as QR codes.

“TV streamers are more responsive on streaming platforms to ads than non-TV streamers who see ads on TV, which can be attributed to the lighter ad-load through TV streaming,” Summers said.

Pluto TV Launches FAST Service in Canada

Paramount Global Dec. 1 formally launched its branded free ad-supported streaming television platform Pluto TV in Canada. The service debuts with more than 20,000 hours of programming across more than 110 thematic and single-series channels curated from a content from Paramount and global media partners.

“This year has marked tremendous growth for Pluto TV, having expanded to the Nordics in May and now to Canada. As we are now in more than 30 countries and territories, we are one step closer to our mission to entertain the planet,” Olivier Jollet, EVP and international GM for Pluto TV, said in a statement

Through a partnership with Corus Entertainment (which is selling ads on the platform), Pluto will stream a wide spectrum of free programming, including Canadian dramas, comedies, lifestyle, kids, movies and news.

“The debut of Pluto TV marks the next evolution of streaming in Canada,” said Troy Reeb, EVP of Broadcast Networks for Corus Entertainment. “Our strategy has always been rooted in placing more content in more places.”

Pluto TV to Launch in Canada This Fall With Ad Sales Support, Content From Corus

Pluto TV, the Paramount-owned FAST (free ad-supported streaming television) service, will launch in Canada this fall with ad-sales support and content from Canada-based Corus Entertainment.

Launching with more than 100 unique, curated channels and more than 20,000 hours of content, the service will offer a spectrum of free programming, including drama, comedy, lifestyle, kids, movies, around-the-clock news, and more.

Corus Entertainment will lead ad sales in the country and will provide multiple Canadian channels to the service.

“Pluto TV is committed to further expanding its premium free offering for audiences around the world, and this game-changing partnership with Corus is a testament to that commitment,” Olivier Jollet, EVP and international GM of Pluto TV, said in a statement. “Following Pluto TV’s  recent launch in the Nordics and the partnership we implemented with Viaplay, which served as the strategic framework for this deal, the upcoming launch in Canada will combine Corus’ incredible local content offering with Pluto TV’s global content and world class platform, positioning Pluto TV to become the leading free ad-supported streaming TV service in the country upon launch in the fall.”

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“Corus’ relationship with Pluto TV underlines our commitment to ad-supported premium video, building on the success of StackTV, the Global TV App, and Premium Video on Demand,” Greg McLelland, EVP and chief revenue officer for Corus Entertainment, said in a statement. “The agreement further expands the volume of digital video inventory Corus has to offer, in a premium, brand-safe environment allowing our clients to achieve the impact of TV with the measurement and targetability of digital and connect with audiences wherever they are streaming.”

Comcast’s Ad-Supported Xumo Streaming TV Service Launches in Canada

Comcast June 2 announced that its ad-supported streaming TV service Xumo has launched in Canada on the Ignite Entertainment platform, available on both Rogers Ignite TV and Ignite SmartStream services — the first international expansion for the Xumo app.

“The launch of the Xumo app on Rogers Ignite TV and Ignite SmartStream is an important milestone in our growing app portfolio,” Chris Hall, SVP of product at Xumo, said in a statement.

Channels available within the app include Radio Canada, CBC News, XUMO Free Movies, ABC News Live, The Johnny Carson Show, Free Action Movies, America’s Test Kitchen, beIN Sports Xtra, batteryPop and more.

“With the integration of Xumo, we are expanding our content library and elevating Ignite TV and Ignite SmartStream as the destination of entertainment, giving more choice and unparalleled access to the most integrated free content of any other major provider in Canada,” added Myrianne Collin, chief marketing officer for Rogers Communications.

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Canadian TV Joins Roku Platform

Roku April 6 announced the launch of Canadian TV (CTV) on its streaming platform, in a continued partnership with Canada’s Bell Media.

Ranked as the No. 1 TV streaming platform in Canada, according to a recent study conducted by the Hypothesis Group, Canadian Roku users will now have access to live and on demand programming from CTV on the streaming player or Roku TV.

Launching on the Roku platform gives users across Canada access to live and on demand programming available through the CTV app, including original shows, series and movies from across CTV Comedy Channel, CTV Drama Channel, CTV Sci-Fi Channel and CTV Life Channel.

“As the No. 1 TV streaming platform in Canada, we are committed to expanding Roku’s Canadian content availability,” Mary-Anne Taylor, head of content distribution, Canada at Roku, said in a statement.

With more than 60 million active accounts globally, Roku remains a must-have gateway to the internet for third-party streaming video platforms.

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Netflix Extends British Columbia Studio Lease for Five Years

Netflix is extending its lease agreement with Martini Film Studios in Langley, British Columbia for an additional five years. The extension will provide the SVOD pioneer with continued access to eight stages and more than 260,000 square feet of total space. Recent Netflix productions filmed at Martini, include season two of “Space Force,” Mixtape, season two of “Another Life,” Ivy & Bean and season one “Grendel.”

“With more than 60 Netflix shows and movies filmed in BC since 2018, we’re excited to be redoubling our commitment to the region as a production center,” Amy Reinhard, VP, Studio Operations at Netflix, said in a statement. “There’s an incredible level of talent, innovation and creativity across the province, and we’re pleased to extend our relationship with Martini Film Studios which has been an outstanding partner.”

Netflix and Martini Film Studios have partnered on several initiatives,
including the installation of 20 electric vehicle charging stations at the facilities as well as providing the use of stage space for professional training programs to increase capacity for the province’s growing production sector.

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“From day one, Netflix has been such an incredible partner,” added Gemma Martini, founder/CEO, Martini Film Studios. “Netflix is a very important part of the production sector here in BC, and we really appreciate the huge vote of confidence it is showing … to the world-class crew and technicians that hold up our industry.”

FilmRise Picks Up FAST Rights to Canadian Series ‘Kim’s Convenience’

FilmRise, the New York-based film and television studio and streaming network, has acquired multi-territory, ad-supported digital linear (FAST) rights to the critically acclaimed Canadian comedy series “Kim’s Convenience” from Canada-based Thunderbird Entertainment.

The deal gives FilmRise exclusive FAST (free ad-supported streaming) rights to all five seasons of the series, which it will program across its existing FAST Channels as well as allow for the creation of dedicated marathon FAST channels of the series across the United States, Latin America, German-speaking Europe, French-speaking Europe, Italy and Spain. FilmRise plans to offer the series on FAST linear streaming channels on IMDb TV, Pluto, The Roku Channel, Samsung TV+ and the FilmRise Streaming Network, among others.

Originally broadcast on CBC starting in 2016, the series made its international debut on Netflix in 2018. 

Based on Ins Choi’s award-winning play of the same name, “Kim’s Convenience” depicts the Korean-Canadian Kim family who runs a convenience store in Toronto. During its five season run, the series was the winner of multiple Canadian Screen Awards, including Best Comedy Series, Foreign Drama of the Year at the Seoul International Drama Awards (2019), Members’ Choice Series Ensemble Award for Best cast at the 2017 Toronto ACTRA Awards (Association of Canadian Television and Radio Artists).

The comedy stars Paul Sun-Hyung Lee (“The Mandalorian”), Andrew Phung (“Run the Burbs”) Andrea Bang (“A Million Little Things”), Jean Yoon (“The Voyeurs”), Simu Liu  (Marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings), and Nicole Power, who stars in “Strays,” which is the spin-off series from “Kim’s Convenience” that premiered in September 2021 on CBC.

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“As the FilmRise Streaming Network continues to grow, so does our approach in acquiring programs featuring unique stories from people of diverse backgrounds,” Max Einhorn,  SVP of acquisitions and co-productions for FilmRise, said in a statement. “‘Kim’s Convenience’ has had a huge impact on a wide range of viewers, and we are thrilled to bring this culturally relevant series for free to streaming audiences worldwide.”

“Kim’s delightful characters and beloved stories brought love and laughter into the hearts of many during its five seasons,” Richard Goldsmith, president of global distribution and consumer products at Thunderbird Entertainment, said in a statement. “Through our partnership with FilmRise, we are thrilled that new audiences internationally will have the opportunity to connect with and enjoy the heart-warming and hilarious experiences of the Kim family.”