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article imageNetflix launches in Canada but video selection is paltry Special

By David Silverberg     Sep 22, 2010 in Internet
Toronto - Today Netflix launched in Canada, the first time the Internet movie company has expanded outside the U.S. At a press conference CEO Reed Hastings said Canadians can access its library of streaming films for $8 a month.
Here's the catch, Canada: Netflix isn't known for offering the latest DVD releases, and licensing snafus prevent the company from even giving Canadians access to American series such as Dexter and The Office. At the launch today, the $8 monthly all-you-can-watch deal seems significant on paper, considering the 7,000 pieces of content available, but a quick look through Netflix's library reveals several shortcomings.
First, the recently added movies to the catalogue include Good Luck Chuck from 2007 and The Straight Story from 1999. TV shows available to stream include only season one of Heroes and the lesser known Paranormal State. But Netflix secured some solid Cancon, such as the first five seasons of the mockumentary Trailer Park Boys. The only 2010 title I could find was an animated series called Cat in the Hat Knows A Lot About That.
A booth showcasing the game consoles available for Netflix at the Toronto event.
A booth showcasing the game consoles available for Netflix at the Toronto event.
Comparatively, in the US 20,000 movies and TV shows are available on Netflix, and films from Paramount or Lion's Gate reach the streaming service 90 days after their premium pay-TV window.
Netflix executives are quick to promote the convenience of using Netflix. At the Toronto press conference at the old Circa nightclub, Hastings demonstrated how he could watch a film like U-571 via a PlayStation 3. Users can also take advantage of Netflix with other game consoles, Blu-ray players, iPhones and 100 other devices.
Rest assured, Netflix isn't competing with cable TV. "We're more of a bicycle to their car," Hastings said. "You can use both a car and a bicycle, depending on your needs." Evidently, if you want to watch older material and take a trip down Hollywood lane, Netflix is ideal; but rental stores and iTunes will still be the only place to watch the latest DVDs, since they only come to Netflix many weeks after their hard release.
In order to entice Canadians to adopt the service, Netflix is offering a one-month free trial period. After, it will cost $7.99 a month to use Netflix as much as you want. In the U.S., customers pay $8.99 monthly and also have the option of ordering DVDs by mail.
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings demonstrating how to use the service at the Toronto launch event
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings demonstrating how to use the service at the Toronto launch event
Netflix is experimenting with a streaming-only service in Canada. Hastings said streaming films is "taking off" and Netflix forecasts DVD delivery costs in the US to reach $700 million in 2010. So streaming films makes sense on many levels, Hastings added.
When asked about bandwidth caps posing a challenge to Netflix's Canadian entry, Hastings deflected the question to say they'll work around those restrictions. He didn't comment on a query about the ISP Rogers lowering their bandwidth caps for its Lite service from 25GB to 15GB recently.
As for new content, including French-Canadian content, Hastings said "we were working so hard to bring this launch to Canada, we couldn't secure all the deals we want to" but he noted Netflix "likes writing big cheques" and they will try to get more licensing deals in order to bolster the content available on Netflix.ca
Netflix Street.
Netflix Street.
More than 15 million consumers are Netflix subscribers. Recently, Netflix signed a deal with Nu Films to stream five to 10 films annually, and investors were happy with this news: its stock soared 3 percent after the news broke, extending its already-wondrous year-to-date rally of 157 percent.
More about Netflix, Streaming video, Reed hastings, Movies, Blockbuster
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