Netflix To Offer Streaming-Only Service In Canada

We know that Consumerist has readers in Canada; we can hear them gloating every time we write about health care. But for years, we’ve had something our neighbors to the north (unless you’re reading this in Alaska) have been coveting — Netflix. Alas, that piece of Americana is soon to go international when it launches a video-streaming service in Canada later this year.

Unlike in the U.S., where customers get streaming video in conjunction with Netflix’s DVD-by-mail plans, Canadians will only be able to view selections from the company’s library of streaming videos.

Another hitch that might rub French-Canadian customers the wrong way — At launch, the service will only be available in English.

No pricing or specific dates were given in Monday’s announcement, though more details are expected later this week when Netflix announces its quarterly earnings.

This is also yet another blow to the gut of wheezing Blockbuster Video, who recently used all their Canadian bricks-and-mortar outlets as collateral in a deal with Fox and Sony.

All this Canada talk aside, how many of you would want a streaming-only service from Netflix for stateside customers?

Netflix chooses Canada for its international debut [Netflix]

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  1. kc2idf says:

    The selection would have to get better before I would consider them for a streaming-only service. If the streaming selection was like their DVD selection, I’d take it in a heartbeat!

    Unfortunately, it isn’t. I suspect the studios are to blame, but I’ve never seen a new release available by streaming (not to say it doesn’t happen, just never in anything I’ve wanted to see).

    • Bort says:

      i’m afraid even brick and mortar stores rarely stock silent movies

    • mopar_man says:

      No doubt. The streaming selection isn’t all that great. I get more DVD deliveries than I do on demand. If I were in Canada, the price would have to be less than $5/month to get me interested in this.

  2. Tim says:

    It depends largely on the price. If it’s still $8.99 per month (which is like $200 Canadian), it’s probably not worth it.

    I guess the main problem is that people are still hesitant to pay for something that isn’t physical. People understand it to be “stealing” when you steal a $20 CD (even though the physical matter is only worth a dollar, maybe two), or a $0.50 newspaper (even though the physical matter is worth about $0.25), but something that’s purely digital doesn’t seem to have a similar value. So streaming content doesn’t seem to have anywhere near the same value as a physical DVD, even though you can get far more content per month streaming (that is to say, you don’t have to wait for it to be shipped).

    Maybe if it were like $5 per month (which is like $170 Canadian), people would pay for it.

    • Dondegroovily says:

      TC, two things:

      First, $8.99 Canadian is about $9.25 US. (I live in a small US city near a big Canadian city, it’s hard to avoid hearing the exchange rate)

      Second, people wouldn’t be stealing downloaded material if it was available for purchase. Studios make beaucoup bucks off DVDs, so they won’t let any of their good stuff stream. People steal these new release because they have to.

      • QOTSA says:

        The cost may be 9.25 American dollars, but i highly doubt that it will cost that. Think of books and magazines, they have both American and Canadian prices. Canadian prices are quite more than American, usually about a 25% increase.
        My question is: Will it stream things that the CRTC won’t license?
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CRTC

        • sjgarg says:

          Well, the CRTC won’t have any say in this matter since streaming content in Canada isn’t subject to licensing by the CRTC.
          http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/archive/1999/pb99-197.htm
          Which means that Netflix won’t be forced to have a percentage of Canadian Content.

          This all comes down to copyrights and Netflix obtaining rights to stream programs and movies in Canada from the individual production companies/studios/etc from the US.

          The only problems with Netflix’s plans would be:

          1. Will CTV, Global, CityTV, etc. try to stop Netflix when it comes to streaming American television programs? Geoblocking is a serious problem for Canadians since these Canadian broadcasters have made agreements with US broadcasters for exclusive rights to stream tv shows online on their own sites rather than allowing Canadians to go the American broadcasters’ sites for streamed content. “Sorry this video isn’t available in your area.” appears on many US broadcasters’ websites. How many shows on Netflix will be blocked to Canadians for this reason?

          2. Will Bell, Rogers, etc try to stop Netflix when it comes to all streamed content? Take the above problem and then add on movies and other media that Bell and Rogers offer in their own online stores. Will the Canadian ISP duopoly which has been given the green light by the CRTC to throttle and traffic shape on their networks purposely slow down and/or drop packets to/from netflix’s servers in favor of their own streaming services. These ISPs effectively killed all plans zip.ca (Canadian verison of Netflix) had to stream content because of their throttling. So will Netflix end up being choppy and slow from this?

    • 5seconds says:

      The 1990s called. They want their exchange rate jokes back.

  3. MickeyG says:

    As a Canadian with a brother in the states who is a HUGE movie fan, I have heard way more than I can handle about Netflix! He brags about it a lot! This whole streaming only thing really depends on how much they are offering in relation to my video store down the street. Cost is a huge thing too of course… is it going to be cheaper to just keep renting movies from down the street and pay at the most 3 movies for $10, or is there enough selection that whatever the monthly fee could be it’ll more than pay for itself?

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      It’s not just movies, though. How much of American TV shows are you getting and how easy is it to rent those?

  4. narcs says:

    I will be signing up for netflix the day it launches in canada mainly because I can’t stand Rogers Plus and now Blockbuster is getting on my nerves. Being able to stream through xbox 360 and ps3 is what i’m looking forward to the most.

    doesn’t matter that we don’t have the full US catalog, over time and as Netflix takes hold in canada the rights will be opened up to everything.

  5. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Maybe the last of good streaming choices will anger the Canadians, and Netflix will actually increase the good stuff for us all.

  6. lilacorchid says:

    If the library contains the shows I watch on cable with a few movies the husband wants, I’ll be dumping the cable and streaming all the way, baby!

  7. Harmodios says:

    You don’t move to Canada, you flunk out of America.

  8. Sayersj629 says:

    I use netflix streaming a lot, and for awhile now I’ve been thinking that I would be willing to pay more if I could stream the whole netflix collection. Now that’d be a streaming only service I’d go for.

  9. Ebriosa says:

    Hooray! I was just thinking about looking into the Canadian market to see what was availible, because I’d really like to ditch cable. But the 100% Canadian Inembriatus wants to get the NHL network again. We’ll see.

    Except I never brag about the health care. I’ve been up here 5 years and still can’t find a doctor taking on new patients.

  10. iyou says:

    If Canada ever gets Trader Joe’s then there really will be no reason to stay in America.

  11. jerrycomo says:

    Why go for streaming Netflix when Canadians already have the excellent Zip.ca? It’s basically Canada’s Netflix!

  12. Mad Monarch says:

    We have an equivalent service called Zip.ca but it does not offer a streaming service, this will be the push to make them do it I think.

  13. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot says:

    It might be worth checking out. I wonder though – are the movies that are streamed able to show subtitles or captions (I’m deaf) ?

  14. bargainboy says:

    Zip.ca is not an equivalent service. I’ve used both services, and Zip is atrociously substandard. They have a queue in name only — the site sends you anything from it, regardless of order, and also agitates for you to have 20+ titles in it at all times. I’ve filled it with new releases and obscure titles but it doesn’t matter either way. The cost per movie is almost the same as regular renting. Happily canceled my account last month.

    Re: Netflix Canada — the big question is whether licensing will restrict the pool of available titles for Canadians, or whether we will get access to the same stuff as the USA. Also, after a while, you exhaust the supply of movies and use the service less (I use the American version ATM with a VPN) so it’s questionable whether the service is worth it long-term.