Watching This Week #112
Listings for May 29 to June 4, 2023; Corus channels appear set to leave Eastlink.
The latest on Paramount+ in Canada, March arrivals on streaming, and the end of Crave's print magazine.
We use affiliate links to help support the costs of hosting this website. If you make a purchase or sign up for a service using these links, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more here.
Welcome to the March 1, 2021 edition of This Week in WCIW, the weekly newsletter from Where Can I Watch – covering the latest news on where TV shows and movies will be available in Canada.
Scroll down for updates on Framing Britney Spears and Discovery+, plus information on new arrivals this month in Canada on Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+ / Star, and CBC Gem. But first, some takeaways from last week's Paramount+ event.
Let's be frank: a lot of what we do here is the metaphorical reading of tea leaves, trying to understand what's likely to happen with content in Canada, sometimes before the parties involved choose to (or can) say so directly (e.g., the fact that almost any given wide-release movie in theatres right now will arrive on a streaming service eventually).
Sometimes, however, the statements are explicit – and still end up being not quite precisely correct. This past week's ViacomCBS investor event was a prime example of this.
Viacom had previously said that the existing CBS All Access service in Canada would be rebranded as Paramount+ on March 4 – the same date as the U.S. rebranding – with "an expanded offering" being made available later in 2021.
We tuned in on Wednesday hoping that there might be clarification on what that expanded Canadian offering might be. But ultimately there was nothing specific about content in Canada, and a lot of what was discussed re international content was hedged with phrasing like "select markets". The only specific mentions of Canada in the main presentation were the re-announcement of the partially northern-set Yellowjackets, a reaffirmation of the Canadian launch being the same date as the U.S., and a slide (video @ 2:08:42) indicating the price in Canada will be $5.99 per month – the same as CBSAA is in Canada now.
Then, in the investor Q&A, things got slightly more interesting. ViacomCBS CEO Bob Bakish said (video @ 2:36:18) that outside the U.S., "including in the launch countries... the Showtime product will be part of Paramount+".
That piqued our interest. Was this including Canada? Or was Bakish oversimplifying?
Within the hour, Viacom released its overall press release about the event, which clarified that the situation was not quite as clear cut as Bakish's comments suggested. "For most international subscribers, Paramount+ will also be the home to Showtime," the press release said. We think it's fair to assume "most" means "not Canada, yet". And perhaps to help drive the point home, the next day Bell Media reposted several Showtime announcements from earlier in the week, explicitly indicating those shows – both new and returning – would still be on Crave.
At the end of the day, we get it – company executives have bigger things to worry about than memorize which programming deals apply in what countries, and that's what those safe harbour notices attached to announcements like this are meant for. But it does make it harder for those of us covering these services to know exactly what is going on in situations like these.
As for all of the other programming coming to Paramount+ in the U.S. – it's hard to know yet how that will work out in Canada. Viacom is still selling first-run Canadian rights to shows like The Stand to other providers (see below) despite producing the show and operating CBSAA / P+ here, so it's not yet clear if (or why) Viacom would just now start moving away from that. The press release announcing Halo's move to Paramount+, for example, explicitly says "[t]he series will be distributed globally by CBS Studios International", suggesting Viacom may still be open to resale deals if the price is right.
It seems logical that shows like the Rugrats and iCarly reboots would land on Corus' new Nick+ streaming package, if not the YTV or Nick Canada linear channels, and the new Daily Show brand extension The Weekly Show with Trevor Noah could end up on CTV Comedy or Crave. But as we've seen already this year with extensions like Discovery+, sometimes those situations end up being a bit more complicated than we think.
There were a bunch of announcements of new content for the coming month on various services this past week. As always, our main focus is on licensed content that may have different broadcast or streaming homes depending on the country. While there are some notable new originals coming in March like Netflix's The Irregulars and Prime Video's Coming 2 America, the services have worldwide rights and will be releasing them in all countries simultaneously, so we don't feel the need to list all of those here. (You can see the full lists linked below where possible.)
On the Discovery+ front: Discovery Inc.'s quarterly earnings call this past week suggested that there is a wider rollout of their streaming service planned for the second half of this year. However, there was no indication whether Canada might be one of these countries. At the moment, Discovery seems to be mostly focused on Europe, where it plans to use Discovery+ for its new continent-wide Olympic Games streaming rights. (Of course, it does not have any such rights in North America.)
The March issue of Movie Entertainment mentioned above also indicated that the next issue of the Crave listings magazine, dated April 2021, would be its last. The issue's letter from the editor noted changes in the media landscape that meant the magazine was no longer necessary. However, Crave's Twitter account was promoting new subscriptions to the magazine up to late January, suggesting the closure was not made final until the cuts at parent company Bell Media announced at the beginning of February. (The fact the March and April issues were allowed to proceed might be tied to 2020-21 funding from the Canada Periodical Fund – the magazine has a "Funded by the Government of Canada" notice in its masthead – which would have required publication through March 31 anyways.)
ME launched as Feature in June 1990, replacing the Allarcom-published Primetime in eastern Canada shortly after First Choice and the original Superchannel unwound the combined operation that was in effect from 1984-89, and adopted its current name in the mid-2000s.
We can't claim to be shocked that the magazine – which for the past number of years was an optional $2/month add-on marketed mainly to Crave's legacy cable customers – is finally seeing its end, in an era where more and more customers were accessing programming on-demand, and when its linear listings were frequently becoming outdated before reaching subscribers' mailboxes (and sometimes, given the high mail volumes of this past year, just plain arriving late).
But it had a good run, outlasting many similar efforts, and may well have been one of the last of its kind. The aforementioned Primetime appears to have ended publication in western Canada in the early 2000s under Corus (Movie Central) ownership. HBO U.S. had long ago ended the glossy magazines, but maintained monthly flyers to at least some linear subscribers until early 2020; you can still download the last two editions under "Schedule PDF" on this page. Sky New Zealand also ended its monthly guide this past August. There are still TV listings magazines on newsstands in some places, some of those even owned by broadcasters (like in Quebec and Newfoundland), but the in-house pay TV magazine seems to now be a thing of the past.
Of course, there are always humans affected by these kinds of changes. Movie Entertainment had a significant number of staff and freelance contributors, and we certainly wish them all well on their next endeavours.
Thanks for reading – we greatly appreciate your support. If you like this newsletter, please consider forwarding to a friend who might be interested, or if you're in a position to do so, support our hosting costs via our Buy Me a Coffee page.
If you're new to This Week in WCIW, you can catch up on past editions here, and sign up to receive future editions on our website at https://www.wherecaniwatch.ca/newsletter/. Or, if you're reading this on the web, you can use the form directly below.
We'll see you again next week.
We now offer an email newsletter about once a week, with news about harder-to-find programs coming to Canadian TV and streaming, and a list of recent updates to our site. Subscribe (for free!) below.
Where Can I Watch is an independent, bootstrapped web publication. We don't like to clutter our site with automated web ads, so we depend on our readers to support our hosting and maintenance costs.
If you find our posts useful, please consider a one-time donation through our Buy Me a Coffee page – or, consider a paid monthly or annual membership for just a few dollars a month, which gives you access to exclusive member-only resources!