Netflix to launch streaming video service in Canada

Mon Jul 19, 2010 4:56pm EDT
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By Solarina Ho

TORONTO (Reuters) - Netflix Inc said on Monday it will bring its streaming video subscription service to Canada this fall, competing against a growing crop of Canadian video services and retailers like Blockbuster Inc.

In Netflix's first foray outside of the United States, members can watch unlimited movies and shows streamed instantly to their TV sets and computers for a monthly fee.

Steve Swasey, a Netflix spokesman, said the company was not ready to divulge details such as pricing, exact launch date, or whether the service will be available via gaming consoles like Microsoft's Xbox.

U.S. membership costs $8.99 (C$9.44) a month for unlimited video streaming as well as home-delivery of DVD rentals, a service Swasey said was "highly unlikely" to be offered in Canada because of its focus on growth through Internet streaming.

Despite Netflix's huge popularity and loyal following in the United States, Wedbush Securities Inc analyst Michael Pachter doubts it will pose an immediate threat to retailers like Blockbuster or other similar providers.

"Streaming-only is not a real substitute for rental of new releases," said Pachter, noting that Netflix's streaming content will likely include releases that are at least two to three years old.

Netflix and other online video providers in the United States have struggled in the past to obtain subscription rights for digital delivery from Hollywood studios, particularly for new films.

Swasey said Netflix is not announcing what titles it will make available in Canada yet.   Continued...