Nathan Fan is a JD Candidate at Osgoode Hall Law School
Yesterday, Netflix launched its leading Internet movie subscription service in Canada, hoping to add “meaningfully to the entertainment choices available to Canadian consumers”. For $7.99 a month, Netflix is offering unlimited streaming of thousands of movies and TV shows to anyone with a broadband Internet connection. The extensive catalogue is available through licensing agreements with major motion picture studios (e.g., Lionsgate, MGM Studios, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox, Universal Pictures) and Canadian distributors (Alliance Films, Maple Pictures, eOne, Mongrel).
Despite a rough start at the launch, Netflix co-founder and CEO Reed Hastings is confident that their low-cost, high-value option will serve “a huge untapped market”. However, Hastings stated in a Toronto press conference that the service will not compete directly with traditional television, preferring to describe Netflix as a supplement – “a bicycle compared to their car”. Although Netflix is the first service of its kind in Canada, it will have its fair share of competition from traditional television networks providing on-demand streaming of their programs on their websites, as well as DVD rental services such as zip.ca, which confirmed that it will also be launching an Internet streaming service for its 85,000-title catalogue later this year.