CRTC to Force Bell and Rogers to Offer CraveTV, Shomi to All Canadians

Today CRTC Chairman Jean-Pierre Blais announced new measures as part of efforts to “support the creation of content by Canadians for Canadian and global audiences”.

While some suspected a Netflix tax on Internet streaming video was being considered, nothing materialized as expected. But there was a crucial decision made on how video-on-demand services will be offered, which looks to affect Bell and Rogers.

Back in February consumer groups complained how Bell’s CraveTV and the joint project shomi by Rogers and Shaw should not be tied to TV or Internet services, citing discrimination against customers.

The CRTC’s decision today says any exclusive streaming video content by broadcasters can be offered, only if it’s available to all Canadians over the Internet without a required TV subscription:

Finally, the CRTC is allowing video-on-demand services to offer exclusive content to cable and satellite subscribers, as long as they are available to all Canadians over the Internet without a television subscription. This will enable Canadian services to compete on a more equal footing with online video services.

This suggests the CRTC would impose Bell and Rogers to make changes to their streaming requirements, satisfying consumer groups (via The Globe and Mail).

Bell at the time told CBC News it disagreed with the PIAC-CAC complaint over CraveTV’s availability, noting “It’s unfortunate that PIAC and CAC are complaining about Canadian creativity and investment with an innovative product that is offered at a very competitive price.”

There’s no word on when the CRTC would try to enforce these changes on Bell and Rogers, but the decisions announced today does imply CraveTV and shomi could soon be available to everyone, regardless whether you have a TV subscription or not.

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of iPhoneinCanada.ca. Follow me on Twitter, and @iPhoneinCanada, and on Google+.

  • runner

    My Message to Bell & Rogers – HA HA!
    I will NEVER subscribe to either streaming service, I am just happy whenever they DON’T get their way!

  • Spiridus

    There is NO way Bell will offer Crave for $5 after this. Prices are going to go up!

  • STEVE-0

    Also, from all the original postings when Shomi launched and before, was that they would make it available to everyone. Rogers was offering it for FREE because it is in BETA.

  • Prashanna

    this what Mr. Crull from Bell MEDIA CraveTV will never make
    money. It is not designed as a standalone service to compete with
    Netflix. Rather, it is designed to encourage viewers to maintain their
    satellite packages by adding an online video component for a few dollars
    per month. In fact, CraveTV has positioned itself by promoting content
    such as Seinfeld or HBO programs, shows that cannot be found on U.S.
    Netflix.

    shomi and crave TV IS GOING DOWN

  • Prashanna

    Shomi and CraveTV are finished anyway
    Bell said It is not designed as a standalone service to compete with Netflix

    looking froward HBO NOW i will be switching my Apple TV DNS to U.S when using U.S iTunes account that a lot Canadian setup past years and staring using HBO NOW when it launched in April plus you get 30 DAY FREE TRAIL.

  • Carrie

    Is there any other industry where every service offered is so closely scrutinized?

    A short tale…

    Bell: “Hey does anyone want to watch live TV on their phones?”
    Consumers: “Hells yes. Hockey on my phone sounds magical”
    Bell: “ok, done. Pay me $5 a month and you can watch 10 hrs.”
    Consumers: “DEAL.”
    CRTC: “don’t forget to charge them for the bandwidth that mobile TV uses”
    Bell: “…But that will make it crazy expensive for them. Can’t we just include that in the $5?”
    CRTC: “Nope.”

    Act II
    Netflix: “We <3 Canada"
    Consumers: "We <3 you too"
    CRTC: "Cool. But like, Netflix could you please follow some of our rules? Like give some of you're earnings to Canadian production companies? Or maybe just tell us how many Canadian consumers you have? "
    Netflix: "Pass."
    CRTC: "..ya ok fine."

    Act III
    Rogers: "Yo guys, I hear you are really into Netflix, eh? How about if we offer something similar?"
    Consumers: "Ya, totally. It would be cool if my $ went to a Canadian company. Honestlyjust make it good tho"
    Rogers:"Done."
    Consumers:"Awesome!"
    CRTC: "umm… No. Let everyone use it"
    Rogers: "but then i can't make any money on it. Then Netflix well just get everyone, no one will buy TV anymore and I'll have to, like, lay off half my 20,000 Canadian employees…. just…why?"
    CRTC: " …But I said so."

  • Well played