A few news items and site updates for mid-September 2021.
Welcome to the August 9, 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.
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This continues to be a quiet period for programming news, but there are a few items to discuss, starting with some recent moves at Paramount+ in Canada.
Paramount+ (and minus)
It looks like Paramount+ is now into a significant shift of its Canadian programming. While it's resulted in some movies being added to the service, and even a few original series that we might have assumed other Canadian channels would have had first dibs on, a few programs – including classic series owned by ViacomCBS – have been surprisingly dropped as well.
Though it's now a lot harder to check its Canadian programming on the web without a subscription, it's still possible to see what's available through the Apple TV app. If you're on an Apple device you can use this link to see all of the series currently available on Paramount+, with movies on a separate screen.
New to the service in Canada are the Mission: Impossible and Godfather franchises, and original series like the revivals / reboots of iCarly, Rugrats, and Behind the Music – series that we had assumed might air first here on YTV and MTV Canada.
But The Good Wife (the 2009-16 series from which The Good Fight was spun off), and all but the last season of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend have been removed – and neither are currently available on any other Canadian streaming service. And we're pretty sure there used to be many more classic series like Frasier (which is still available on Crave) as well. It seems odd at first blush considering that ViacomCBS owns all these series, but there may be other financial reasons – residuals and the like – for them not to be able to keep them up indefinitely.
Meanwhile, as first noticed by a contributor on the Digital Home Canada forums, ViacomCBS has recently posted a number of new Toronto-based positions, a couple of which specifically mention planned growth for Paramount+ in Canada.
So it looks like, whatever flakiness there might have seemed to be for CBS All Access / Paramount+ in Canada up until now, it seems like ViacomCBS is all-in... at least until the next merger or change in corporate strategy.
A couple of weeks ago, we noted that Comcast and ViacomCBS were discussing some sort of international streaming partnership. There was an announcement this past week, but for now it looks like it will not involve the type of combined service that some were speculating – instead, Paramount+ will launch in territories where Comcast subsidiary Sky operates, like the UK and Italy, and will be included in select Sky packages, taking over the rights to future Showtime programming from Sky Atlantic in those countries in the process. Meanwhile, Comcast's Peacock will launch separately on Sky.
It looks like Disney+ is trying some new promotional partnerships in order to drive subscriber growth. For a while, the service basically sold itself with shows like The Mandalorian and the first batch of Marvel Studios TV series – and ended new-user free trials as a result – but perhaps it's now reached a point where that new content isn't enough on its own.
This past week, Rogers announced a partnership that enables Disney+ as an app on its Ignite TV platform (including streaming-only SmartStream devices), while also becoming, in effect, a reseller of Disney+. Ignite TV customers can get a free year of Disney+ by signing up through Rogers, while subscribers to the company's Rogers Infinite wireless plans (if they aren't also Ignite TV customers) can get six months free.
Existing Disney+ subscribers can still take advantage, but they have to switch to being billed by Rogers, and may have to cancel their existing subscription manually if they signed up in-app through Apple or Google devices. (If they signed up on the web, their direct subscription will be paused automatically.)
Meanwhile, Amazon recently launched a joint promotion for Disney+ and its music service, however this is only available to new Disney+ subscribers. In essence, if you have or sign up for Amazon Music Unlimited (which starts at $9.99 per month, or $7.99 for Prime subscribers), you'll get Disney+ for free for up to six months. Even if you never touch Amazon's music app, it's a savings of up to $24 over those six months compared to signing up to Disney+ directly.
File under "the grass is greener": while we've seen many complaints out there about issues with Crave's apps (and we have had issues ourselves from time to time), different technical issues continue to plague HBO Max to the point that it warranted a specific Bloomberg piece on the topic.
Ultimately it's up to the people working on these services to fix these issues – and to their parent companies to provide the resources to do so. But there's a lot of effort involved in maintaining streaming tech across multiple types of devices, effort that has to be (largely) duplicated across each and every company doing this sort of work. We certainly don't envy the workload at those companies these days.
Recent updates on WCIW
We've seen some interest in the HBO Max animated series The Prince, so we've added a post about that. (In short: considering how quietly HBO Max released the poorly-reviewed series in the U.S., we're not expecting it in Canada anytime soon.)
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