How Bell Media Bumbled the Launch of CraveTV


After months of hype teasing the imminent arrival of “Project Latte,” a new streaming service that promised television Addicts such as ourselves with an amazing catalogue of new and old shows, yesterday saw Bell Media unwrap the details of their answer to Netflix named CraveTV.

And while Bell Media bigwigs spent much of yesterday patting themselves on the back for offering Canadians what Mike Cosentino (Senior VP, Programming, Bell Media) characterized as, “an incredible offering of some of TV’s most-watched and most-loved shows,” our reaction is somewhat less that effusive. But before we get into the massively missed opportunity by Bell Media to… I don’t know… put Canadians customers first and actually acknowledge that the ways in which our country consumes media has changed since 1975, let’s start with the good.

Priced at $4.00 a month, it’s hard to argue with any streaming service that will give certain subscribers (more on that later) instant access to an insanely amazing catalogue of televisions favourites including but not limited to THE SOPRANOS, SEX AND THE CITY, THE WIRE, SEINFELD, FRASIER, ARROW, ORPHAN BLACK, DOCTOR WHO, HOMELAND, PERSON OF INTEREST, DEGRASSI, and many more.

What’s not so good is that the advertised $4.00 a month is nothing short of a bald faced lie because the service is only available to paid subscribers of Bell, Telus, Bell Aliant and Eastlink increasingly costly cable services. And don’t even get me started on the fact that Rogers and Shaw customers are being punished for not paying the piper Ma Bell! But I digress…

shomi Review: Why We’re Not Buying What Rogers and Shaw are Selling (At Least Not Yet!)

What irks me more is that Bell Media had a real opportunity to change the television landscape and act as a real leader in the space. Bell Media could have looked at Netflix’s “customer first” model that is stealing customers from them left and right by offering a wonderful mix of original and catalogue programming at an affordable price. Bell Media could have recognized that an entire generation of Canadians are no longer looking to pay a hefty monthly cable bill on top of their equally hefty mobile and internet ones. Bell Media could have done the math and realized that if they offer an amazing service at an affordable price, they’ll not only make piles of money as a result of their onerous and punitive bandwidth caps, but also cash in when they invariably raise the price of CraveTV over the course of the next few years (again, see our mobile and internet bills!). Instead, Bell Media did what is par for the course when it comes to Canadian (and let’s face it, most American media conglomerates): They attempted to squeeze every last penny out of a dying industry that is on its last legs.

Thanks for nothing CRTC.

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  • Stephen Feldman

    Like yourself, I’m very disappointed with both Bell’s CraveTV and Roger’s shomi… both completely missed the mark for the majority of Canadians who are fed up with the increasingly high cost of cable TV and internet services. I fight every year with Rogers to maintain my cable/internet costs to keep them under $150/month and the value I get every year from that ‘service’ decreases. The only reason I keep cable now is so my kids have access to programming that is aired each week and record it on our PVR for when they want to watch it. I’m also constantly near our monthly limit of 120GB for internet and when I try to look for cheaper options there is always something I need to give up (i.e. access to certain channels my kids watch and getting many channels I couldn’t give a hoot about nor want my kids to get access to due to the crap or offensive content). Both Bell and Rogers had an awesome opportunity to give Canadians what they want… a Canadian content version of Netflix with original programming WITHOUT the need to continue my cable TV. What incentive do either provide me to add their version of Netflix when I still can’t ‘cut the cord’ yet still have to deal with increasing download by adding their bundles. Are they offering a discount or increasing my download capacity without any additional fees? I highly doubt it. Sorry Rogers/Bell you won’t get me to sign up until you devise a solution that this Canadian wants. For now this is another ‘epic fail’ on the part of both conglomerates who have no clue how to put their customers first.

  • dave777

    CRTC is the enemy of the consumer.

  • Edward Humphrey

    Rogers shomi is available to its Internet and wireless customers without the need of a cable package, unlike crave tv. Furthermore If you have rogers mid-tiered Internet service (HF60) you get a free subscription for a year. Although cable is not required for shomi, the incentive of keeping rogers cable is you can access shomi on your cable box and thus not have to worry about exceeding your 120gb download cap. Netflix on the other hand is a common source of Internet overage charges on the bill.