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.”

FuboTV Acquires Exclusive Premier League Soccer Rights in Canada

FuboTV, the sports-themed online TV streaming service, Jan. 13 announced it would be the exclusive home to the Premier League, England’s top professional soccer league, in the Canadian market for the next three seasons beginning in 2022-23. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The streaming platform will carry all 380 Premier League matches each season and shoulder programming on its growing Canadian platform through the 2024-25 season. All content will stream live on FuboTV and its linear channel, Fubo Sports Network.

The deal follows a similar Canadian distribution agreement FuboTV inked for Italian Serie A and Coppa Italia rights, underscoring the platform’s aggressive push for top-tier soccer programming. In addition to exclusive rights, FuboTV streams more than a dozen popular sports and entertainment channels including OneSoccer and Paramount Network, home to one of TV’s hottest dramas, “Yellowstone.”

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“This deal allows us to bring yet another top-notch property to FuboTV, further differentiating our content offering, and giving Canadians another reason to cut the cord for exciting, exclusive sports content,” David Gandler, co-founder/CEO of FuboTV, said in a statement.

For Paul Molnar, chief media officer of the Premier League, the distribution rights underscore the league’s global appeal — and growing streaming interest in live sports.

“We look forward to working together to bring the excitement of the Premier League to both new and existing fans,” Molnar said.

In addition to its soccer rights in Canada, FuboTV has exclusive streaming rights to the Qatar World Cup 2022 Qualifying matches of the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) in the United States.

American over-the-top video’s love affair with soccer began in 2019 when Amazon Prime Video inked Premier League distribution rights for select matches — in the U.K. Prime Video is also the official regional digital broadcast partner for the Seattle Sounders FC of Major League Soccer.

Perhaps no streamer has been more aggressive acquiring foreign soccer rights than Paramount+. The erstwhile CBS All Access SVOD has quietly acquired soccer streaming rights from around the world for distribution in the U.S.

Paramount+ has rights to the UEFA Champions League, NWSL, Europa League, Serie A, Concacaf Nations League, men’s and women’s CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers, UEFA Conference League, Brasileirāo, Coppa Italia, Supercoppa Italiana, Copa de la Liga Profesional, the Supercopa Argentina, as well as the Asian Football Confederation.

“This is exactly the kind of programming that turns new subscribers into lifelong fans,” said George Cheeks, CEO of the CBS Entertainment Group. “We are making soccer a core pillar of sports exclusively available on Paramount+.”

Canadian SVOD Market Projected to Reach 28 Million Subs in 2022, Driven by Netflix

Following months of home confinement due to the pandemic, the number of Canadian consumers accessing subscription VOD will top 28 million subscribers in 2022, according to new data from eMarketer. The tally had previously been projected for 2024. In 2021, there will be 1 million more digital video viewers in Canada than previously forecast.

While YouTube tops the list for overall video viewership, subscription VOD services, led by Netflix, account for most of the growth in video viewership. Domestic video services, like Crave and Club Illico, have gained committed audiences but don’t rival the numbers from international services, which include Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video.

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Netflix and other SVODs have fewer viewers than YouTube because they focus solely on entertainment. Additionally, there’s greater competition for eyeballs among these platforms. There will be 23.8 million subscription OTT viewers in Canada this year, which is up 4.1% year-over-year, and on top of a 14.9% growth rate in 2020.

“We predict that nearly two-thirds of Canadians will be subscription OTT users by 2025,” analyst Paul Briggs wrote in a blog post. “As the market grows, subscription OTT viewers will take a larger share of digital video viewership. They will account for 86.3% of digital video viewers in 2025.”

Netflix is still the most popular OTT service by far, with 18.6 million viewers, up 2.9% over last year. We expect viewership will grow at a slower rate in the coming years. By 2025, Netflix will garner viewership from half of the population in Canada.

Roku Expands TV Marketing Campaign to Canada

Roku Oct. 5 unveiled its “OK, Roku does that” TV streaming marketing campaign in Canada building on the momentum of new product launches as the streaming media pioneer enters the winter holiday season. The objective of the campaign is to create long term brand awareness for Roku and future streamers as consumers begin to think about holiday spending.

With nearly half (46%) of Canadian TV streamers signing up for new streaming services in the past 12 months, the “OK, Roku does that” campaign highlights the TV streaming platform for the innovation and ease of use in a broad campaign across TV streaming, traditional pay TV, out-of-home, and social media.

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The Roku State of Canadian Streaming survey found that half of Canadian streamers reported using three or more streaming services, a 6% increase year-over-year.

The hero of the 60-second spot looks back in time, over the course of history to see how seemingly simple innovations have transformed the world and how people navigate it. The launch commercial moves through a short history of transformative innovations; culminating in the decade of streaming.

“We are witnessing a fundamental change in how consumers engage with content and entertainment, and that shift has been led in large part by Roku,” Ellie Bamford, SVP, global head of media and connections at R/GA, Roku’s ad partner for the campaign, said in a statement. “In this campaign we wanted to create an emotional connection that highlights the innovation and leadership Roku has provided in streaming. We believe we’ve achieved that with our great partners at Roku in an opportunity within one of the hottest industries.”

Additional video ads are focused on driving awareness for Roku TVs, and will play on the same “OK, Roku does that” theme and be on display in major cities around Canada, including Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal. Roku will also use its “OneView” ad-buying platform built for TV streaming, to manage the digital portion of the campaign across desktop, mobile, and TV streaming.

Netflix Launches Fan Site Highlighting Canadian Filming Locations

Netflix has launched a fan website affording insider access to filming locations used for some of the SVOD pioneer’s original series, including “Virgin River,” “The Umbrella Academy” and “Restaurants on the Edge,” among others.

Dubbed “Netflix in Your Neighborhood,” the streamer characterizes the site as a “window” into some of the Canadian cities and towns that have “enriched our films and series, and captivated audiences worldwide.”

Site visitors can search filming locations by a film or series title, or by province. Users can also access directions to these destinations, and see how they’ve been featured on Netflix.

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“We’ve filmed hundreds of productions across Canada and the site will feature some current highlights, as well as select new titles, once they are released,” Lindsey Scully, with Netflix’s marketing department, wrote in a post.

Netflix cited third-party data that suggests viewers of content filmed in Canada are more than twice as likely to want to visit the country. Indeed, the data found that viewers streaming the series “Somebody Feed Phil,” which has an episode dedicated to Montreal, were 79% more interested in Canada’s food and drink and 76% more interested in Canadian cities.

“Through Netflix, members can discover many different parts of Canada, encouraging them to look at these Canadian destinations through a new lens,” Scully wrote.

Tubi Adds Fox Titles to AVOD Content in Canada

Fox Entertainment’s AVOD/FAST platform Tubi announced it has added more than a dozen Fox TV shows to its streaming library in Canada. Shows include “The Masked Singer,” “The Masked Dancer,” “Mental Samurai,” “Name That Tune” and “Ultimate Tag,” among others.

The titles join recent Tubi movie additions Tales of a Fifth Grade Robin Hood, Goodfellas, Letters From Iwo Jima and Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, among others. A survey conducted earlier this year by Tubi’s Canadian launch partner, Rogers Sports and Media, found the platform is the most popular AVOD service in Canada, behind YouTube, and saw a 107% year-over-year increase in total view time from January 2020 through January 2021.

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“Fox’s marquee titles launching in Canada comes at an optimal time when our Canadian audience is growing at a rapid pace,” Adam Lewinson, chief content officer of Tubi, said in a statement. “We’ve seen Fox content resonate with our viewers in the U.S., so we’re thrilled for our audience in Canada to now have these premium series at their fingertips.”

In addition to specials, including “TMZ Presents: Harry & Meghan: The Royals in Crisis,” “TMZ Presents: Tiger King — What Really Went Down?,” “After the Mask” and “Nick Cannon’s Hit Viral Videos: Holidays 2019,” among others.

“Making these titles available, a number of which are produced and owned by Fox Alternative Entertainment, illustrates our strategy of combining Fox with the [streaming] reach of Tubi,” added Rob Wade, president of alternative entertainment and specials at Fox Entertainment.

Tubi has more than 35,000 movies and television series from more than 250 content partners, including every major studio. The platform is available on Android and iOS mobile devices, Amazon Echo Show, Google Nest Hub, and on OTT devices such as Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast, Android TV, Vizio TVs, Sony TVs, Samsung TVs, Hisense TVs, Comcast X1, Cox Contour, PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S.