Canadian broadcaster Bell to launch service to rival Netflix, Shomi

Thu Oct 30, 2014 3:27pm EDT
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TORONTO (Reuters) - Bell Media, the Canadian broadcaster, said on Thursday it plans to launch a new video streaming service devoted exclusively to television content, as it races to counter the threat posed to its cable service from rival streaming services like Netflix Inc and Shomi.

The new offering, code-named "Project Latte," will feature shows from HBO, including "The Sopranos," "Six Feet Under," and "Sex and the City," said Bell Media, a subsidiary of Canadian telecommunications and cable giant BCE Inc.

Bell said HBO is going to be the first of many major content partners featured on the streaming service. It will provide more details in the coming weeks.

The service will be available to all broadcast and cable television subscribers in Canada, pending agreements with participating providers. The service will be offered over set-top box, as well as via mobile apps, the Internet, and other platforms like game consoles and Smart TVs.

Established cable operators have suffered from the emergence

of cheaper online products, such as the Netflix streaming service.

Bell's telecommunications rivals Rogers Communications Inc and Shaw Communications Inc announced plans in August to jointly launch a streaming service dubbed Shomi.

Shomi will be available starting in the first week of November for C$8.99 per month. The Netflix offering in Canada starts at a price of C$7.99 a month.

Bell did not provide any pricing details for its proposed service, or any start date.

(Reporting by Euan Rocha; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)