Canada Gets its Own Version of Hulu and We’ve Got Your First Look


The Good: The closest things Canadians have to Hulu has arrived with the impending November 30th launch of Rogers on Demand Online, an exciting new service that allows Rogers (and Fido subscribers) to watch their favorite shows online and on demand.

At launch both current (COUGAR TOWN, COMMUNITY, UGLY BETTY) and classic TV Addict favorites (THE WEST WING) will be available and thanks to a very Hulu-esque design are incredibly easy to find, fantastic looking and did we mention FREE to current Rogers and Fido customers.

Turns out, Rogers actually gets it. Customers want TV when and where they want it. Said VP of Video Product Management David Purdy, “We’re no longer in the cable TV business. We’re in the video entertainment business.” And to that end, this is only the beginning. With Rogers pledging to not only roll out their entire channel lineup via this on demand service in the coming months, but across multiple platforms as well. TV, Online and coming in 2010, the big one… Phones (The dream of TV on our iPhone may soon become a reality!) Plus talk surrounding streaming via the PS3 and XBOX 360 as well.

The Bad: Although Purdy promises that their goal is to add new content partners every single week over the next twelve months, launch content is sparse. Outside of Rogers-owned providers such as CityTV, SportsNET, as well as TVO, Treehouse and SuperChannel, favorites from CTV, CBC, and Global are nowhere to be found (although negotiations are ongoing). More frustrating still, when content we do love is available — say, the genius of THE WEST WING that we swear we haven’t already spent three hours watching over the past two days— only five episode were available.

The Ugly: Aside from the obvious fact that this TV Addict certainly doesn’t need another distractions available to him at the click of a mouse, the real ugly is that sinking feeling we’d have if we were Rogers competition. Bell, Telus, it’s your move.

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  • Ace

    Congrats :). And don’t worry about the content level. Hulu started off w/ pretty much just NBC offerings and you had to wait over a month to get a password to get in! Now if only we could get some of your shows! I would love to see Canada’s Project Runways!

  • Eric

    Too bad Rogers does not improve the quality of its offering to the 90% of their customers who does not care about watching TV on a computer. Improved VOD selection (cable), an IPG that does not have 80s features and look, more HD channels is where they should spend their time and money.

  • Eric,

    Agree 100% that Rogers VOD interface is an embarrassment. That said, I have a feeling Rogers is aware of the issue and think that as more and more TV’s get outfitted with ethernet connections, this online interface will eventually replace the current VOD one.

  • showtime

    It’s definitely going to be hard to get networks such as CTV, Global, CBC on board until they settle this “TV tax” (as I like to call it) with the CRTC. I though having TV on my phone would be cool, it’s not something that is crucial. I heard that Telus and Bell are getting the iPhone, so anything can happen…

  • reidjr

    As for the 90% who do not want to watch tv on a computer.Thats not true canadians like there content online.There has been reports etc that say canadians like there content online and want more online.To add the future of tv is online and rogers is doing the right thing.Aslo if i was to guess i would say 50% of there customers are happy about this new service.As for the ondemand lets no forget it was just updated last year i would not call it an embarrasment.As for there selection they do offer a good choice could it be better maybe but its is good.

    I am not sure how hard it will be to get ctv and cbc on board may not be that hard at all.Rogers and ctv reached an agreement i beleave in aug or sept to bring ctv shows to rogers ondemand.

  • DL

    Free is good but will this count towards Rogers download cap?

  • DL,

    Like any web video, this does indeed count against your Rogers download cap.

  • Andre

    Actually, it’s Rogers that’s playing catchup to Bell. Bell launched their online video-on-demand a few weeks ago. TMN Online was launched October 13th. You can watch movies, and selected TV series.

  • reidjr

    This is a bit different then bells offerings.Tmn online is only avaible to tmn subs.Rogers online offers alot more and open to all rogers customers.

  • Guywantowany

    I hope you’re right but from what I’ve read a lot of content will only be available if you already subscribe to it on cable. So if TMN signs up with the Rogers online service you won’t get it unless you already pay for it on regular cable. If they don’t do this then I can foresee people dropping cable and going strictly with an internet connection when the content improves.

  • aou

    CTV, Global, CBC and others are already making their content available online to Canadians. So far – programming of them altogether is way better than one from Rogers. And you don’t have to be a Roger’s customer to whatch it.

    Here is the list: