CraveTV to launch Dec. 11 for ‘price of a latte’

The TV streaming service is an add-on to Bell Media's pay TV offerings and will also be available on Eastlink and Telus' Optik TV.
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For $4 a month, or the price of a latte, Bell Media is betting CraveTV, to launch Dec. 11, will stop cord-cutting and battle Netflix Canada with a TV-series-only streaming service of its own.

CraveTV, which requires a bundled TV subscription from an authenticated cable provider, will be part of Bell Media’s other VOD offerings for Bell Fibe and Bell Satellite TV.

The new SVOD will also be distributed via Eastlink, Optik TV, Bell Aliant FibreOP TV, with Northwestel and other CCSA members to follow.

Kevin Crull, president and CEO of Bell Media, told a news conference Wednesday morning that the service will be ad-free upon its launch. While Bell will not “interrupt” viewing sessions with ads, Crull says there is a possibility to include ads or feature sponsors in the future.

The broadcaster isn’t looking to be disruptive with CraveTV and its discounted $4 a-month price tag, and instead will offer TV lovers an add-on treat as it continues to build out its digital pipeline.

“We’re incredibly proud to launch a video streaming service dedicated to TV lovers who crave even more quality television, while enhancing the value TV providers deliver to their subscribers,” Bell Media president Kevin Crull said in a statement Wednesday.

Bell Media also announced Tuesday a “Canadian first-look strategy,” which will see episodes of Bell Media’s original Canadian series premiere on CraveTV 24 hours in advance of their network television premieres; it will also premiere Corner Gas The Movie ahead of its TMN and CTV debut.

CraveTV, which has done SVOD rights deals with Hollywood studios and other TV suppliers, will launch with over 10,000 hours of TV programming, with no movies and kids fare as on Netflix Canada and shomi. New product will be released every Friday.

For $4 a-month, or possibly free for BCE’s high-tier customers if the phone giant follows the lead of U.S. cable and phone giants, CraveTV is cheaper than Netflix Canada and shomi.

CraveTV subscribers can download TV content via a set-top box and on iOS and Android-powered smartphones and tablets via the CraveTV app, game consoles and online at CraveTV.ca.

To support the launch, on Dec. 8 Bell Media will attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the marathon TV watching, with six people watching CraveTV programming for 91 consecutive hours at its Toronto Queen St. West headquarters.

- Image courtesy of Shutterstock