Bell opens CRAVETV to all Canadians… finally.

Amongst our staff and associates, we have had this debate since last year when Crave from Bell and Shomi from Rogers was introduced. We asked ourselves why they would not have released their “Netflix killer” services for everybody to start with? The TV world has changed and for those of us who have left traditional TV service and gone 100% online, paying $8/month USD to Netflix is an easy choice compared to the $100-$200/month full TV bundles offered.

To add Shomi and CraveTV for a reasonable amount to the public would be a natural progression we thought. However Bell and Rogers decided to wait for a couple of years to see if their existing subscriber base would support the concept(both financially and conceptually) and I think they finally realized it wouldn’t. Why would regular TV subscribers pay for an extra service? At the same time, the number of people leaving traditional TV has been in tens of thousands.

The next question will be how much will the public version cost? If it is inline with Netflix pricing, then I think they will get a lot of positive response. In my specific case, adding another $16/month for both those services would be an easy decision to fill in the gaps where Netflix can’t supply all the TV content I want. But if they try to sell it a a price they think the market will bear for example, $15/month each or more, then they will have again missed to the boat on how online viewers think and operate. For online users, it is about how much convenience we are giving up in order to save money.

For example, I have a computer hooked up to each of my TVs. So for me, it was just a matter of getting wireless keyboards/mice to control my user interface. It was a cheap solution. For others who may not have the access to equipment or may want more of the traditional TV PVR style interface, an investment in a SMART TV or TV control box may be required and those users may not be as comfortable as I am with the technology.

A specific example would be the popular cataloging and viewing app XMBC(now called KODI) which consolidates downloads, netflix and other streaming services into a PVR like interface. Here is the link if you are interested: Kodi – Xmbc

Though it is a beautiful interface and makes it look all slick and easy, for me, I prefer to straight computer interface that lets me watch TV on a computer just with a bigger TV screen. So bottom line is, if you can handle working around a TV interface to a computer interface, you are willing to put up with more in order to save money.

I find that older users (such as my parents) tend to want the simple convenient interface and thus will pay more for that reliability and ease than I would.

My sole reason for cancelling my TV services and only having a big internet pipe was to cut my bill in half, which I did. For me, since I don’t watch live news or live sports, switching to online only was easy. We watch netflix, direct streams for all the network’s websites etc etc and I save myself $140/month. I don’t need a PVR because its all profile driven and streamed so I can pickup where I left off anytime anyways.

So as long as Crave and Shomi can compete, I don’t mind paying for their content even if it overlaps because if they can make the experience easy and robust, then I would gladly support Canadian over American services. It has just been so out of whack until now that we had little choice.

Here is the latest article about CraveTV from the CBC.

Bell opens CraveTV to everyone starting next year – Business – CBC News.

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