Canadian cable giants aren’t just going to watch their audience slip away to streaming services – two of the nation’s biggest providers have joined forces to launch shomi, a new subscription-based service that provides access to shows on-demand, with apps for tablets, phones, web, Xbox 360 and set-top boxes at launch. The shomi service will be available only to Rogers and Shaw Internet or TV subscribers n its beta form, and it’ll be available beginning in November with an $8.99 per month price tag (the same, you’ll note, as Netflix.)
The joint venture by the cable industry leaders will offer over 11,000 hours of programming, per a release announcing the news, and that comes from “past seasons” of popular TV programs, including exclusive streaming rights to some of the most popular titles, like Modern Family, Shameless, 24: Live Another Day, American Horror Story and Sons of Anarchy. They’re also promising first-window premieres, which means they’ll have limited exclusive access to some content before others get it.
Shomi’s entire launch document for this service is basically a thinly veiled jab at Netflix, with the inference being that for Canadians, at least, it’ll provide a much better content library. The focus seems to be especially on TV shows, though in addition to 14,000 episodes and TV titles spanning 340 series, shomi will have 1,200 movies. In keeping with Canadian content regulations imposed on broadcasters in the country, 30 percent of the content is Canadian.
As for other advantages, shomi offers trailers to preview its content, as well as “factoids for movie titles,” whatever the hell that means. Surprisingly, given this is coming from cable companies, shomi isn’t being stingy with viewing permissions, allowing up to six profiles per account and simultaneous viewing on two devices as well as their set top boxes. Netflix, which doesn’t make a big deal about shared accounts, still allows simultaneous streaming on only two screens at a time with its basic account. Plus, this will presumably work on user’s existing cable boxes in the country, which could drive adoption based just on convenience.
It’s not the first time cable companies have tried to fight Netflix, and it won’t be the last, but it does look like one of the better thought-out approaches.