Netflix Streaming Comes to Canada (Mostly)

Netflix Canada Lacks Content | 40Tech

After a (very) long wait, Netflix has finally opened up in Canada. Well, mostly, anyway. For starters, the Canadian arm of the service is streaming only, no delivery, so that that immediately cuts down the amount of possible content available to Canadians. That was just the first content cut, however… Canadian usage rights for entertainment content have always been an added difficulty with any mainstream media service, and Netflix proves to be no different. Even though the service has finally found its way to Canada, when Hulu, Pandora, and even YouTube content is still restricted, the selection of movies and television episodes have been met with groans of disappointment by many.

It’s not all bad — Netflix loads what it does have fast, and with great quality — but for those hoping to watch as many of the newer/popular TV shows and movies that unlimited for $7.99 per month will get them, Netflix Canada will be found wanting. It’s still one step closer to killing off your cable bill, though.

Netflix launches in Canada with limited selection [Vancouver Sun]

Bobby Travis

Bobby isn't 40-something, but is a strong supporter of the Grown-up Geek kind. He's a loving husband and father first, but is also a freelance writer, productivity nut, operatically trained singer, and (not-so) closet geek. Check out his random thoughts, wackiness, and Instagram pics on Tumblr, Twitter, or Google+-- or just head over to bobby-travis.com.

8 Comments:

  1. OK, I’m curious. What are the major differences in usage rights in Canada vs. those rights in the US?

    • It’s not so much a difference in how the intellectual property is used, but in whether or not it gets into Canada at all — especially when it comes to the distribution of film and television. Sometimes, even when something comes to Canada (at least in the case of some animated shows), it is even re-recorded (often badly) in Canadian studios with new voice actors. This happened with the show Dragon Ball Z, when the US Cartoon Network version had been on for years already, in Canada. Most of the time, though, it is related to media companies wanting retain a stranglehold on the digital display of their property, which leads to no outside US access to Hulu, Pandora, Last.FM (though this may have changed with their subscription service), Mogg, TV network websites’ full episodes, and formerly Netflix. As mentioned, the Canadian Netflix library is pitiful compared to the US Watch Now service. Even iTunes and App store offerings are less plentiful in Canada, including for the new AppleTV, or so I’ve been lead to believe.

      I should mention that the CRTC (it’s like the US FCC) is responsible for some of this, as well, as they get very militant about promoting Canadian content, which sometimes imposes rules and potential costs on the external media groups.

      • “I should mention that the CRTC (it’s like the US FCC) is responsible for some of this, as well, as they get very militant about promoting Canadian content,”

        That actually doesn’t surprise me at all. My team had discussion with Canadian authories (years ago) about whether or not we were allowed to store information about our Canadian customers on servers that were in the US, as well as a few later discussion on similar topics. We actually had to send someone to Canada for a face to face meeting at one point. There was definitely a strong desire to keep that data (and the jobs ob the people maintaining the data center) in Canada rather than consolidating it (the way we were doing for everyone else.)

      • I am equally unsurprised. I understand their standpoint, to a degree — at least until it gets in my way. That happens all too often, unfortunately.

  2. Yeah, unfortunately it looks like Netflix coming to Canada is more of a bust than a huge success, though I agree it is a step in the right direction. Everytime I see someone has shared some hilarious clip with me and I get redirected to Hulu (and can’t find it elsewhere), I think, what is the big deal here? Canadians and Americans are more similar than we are different, we (generally) watch the same tv shows and laugh at the same things, why can’t I go online and watch a clip from SNL? I understand (a bit) about why it’s important to protect rights holders, but more than that, I understand the person or business who solves this problem so that the border disappears online is going to be made wealthy.

    • I hear you, Darren. I think Netflix will improve over time — and it is honestly good enough at the moment to at least take advantage of the free trial — but it will likely be a slow and arduous process. It is better than the next to nothing we had before, but that won’t satisfy people.

      Movie and music companies complain about the amount of piracy in Canada, but in this, they are actually causing the problem. It is way too easy for someone to try to go the legit path to watch popular content, find themselves blocked — and then fire up a torrent client. That’s not to say it’s the right thing to do, any more than it’s acceptable to love your neighbour’s car, find out you need a special license, get annoyed and go for a joy ride… but I can see where it will only increase the problem, not decrease it, as they may have hoped.

      Over-stringent rules breeds black markets. It’s a fact of life.

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