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Hello! This is the January 17, 2022 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.
We just have a few minor updates this week about shows like Evil and When Calls the Heart, but first, a significant sports property is moving in Canada – again.
Fubo goes big on soccer in Canada
We don't go too much into sports here – if it's not your thing, feel free to move on to the next section – but a big announcement about a key soccer property is interesting to us, in that it's showing how even the streaming disruptors can be disrupted.
Three years ago, DAZN, which had already acquired Canadian streaming rights to the NFL, made another big splash by buying the exclusive Canadian rights to the Premier League – the top tier of men's football (soccer) in England – for three seasons, covering games from August 2019 to May of this year. Prior to that, broadcast rights had been split between TSN and Sportsnet (before that, they were on Sportsnet alone, and before that on TSN alone).
But now, American-based sports-focused streaming provider FuboTV, which has been active in Canada for a few years but with an offering that's considerably slimmer than its American vMVPD service, is using the league to buff up its Canadian offerings.
The company announced this past week it had acquired exclusive Canadian broadcast rights to the Premier League for the next three seasons, beginning with the 2022–23 season scheduled to begin in August. That's on top of its existing exclusive English-language rights to Serie A and Coppa Italia (some games remain available in Italian on Canadian cable via TLN).
The games will be distributed as part of Fubo Sports Network, which is technically just one of the channels the service distributes, alongside the likes of BeIN Sports, MLB Network, and OneSoccer – but to get it, you'll almost certainly need to subscribe to FumoTV. (A version of Fubo Sports Network is available on some free ad-supported services like Xumo in the U.S., but it's not clear that the games will be available in Canada that way.)
It's not immediately clear whether DAZN decided to underbid, Fubo overbid, or perhaps a bit of both. While DAZN still has a big financial backer in Access Industries, and significant Canadian broadcast rights like the NFL and UEFA Champions League, some of their recent moves (like the reported acquisition of BT Sport in the UK) suggest they're focusing more of their energy outside North America for the time being. Indeed, even with the big splash they made in Canada, they've never been a big player in the U.S. apart from boxing.
Meanwhile, does Fubo have any more big moves on the way? An interview of Fubo executives in The Globe and Mail suggests that announcements regarding more non-sports programming will be forthcoming. That said, some analysts have been very critical of the company's strategies (though it's unclear how well those analysts understand soccer interest in Canada), and it's not clear that the strategies they're trying in the U.S., like expanding into sports wagering, will work any better in Canada, even with recent changes here.
Reminder: FuboTV is one of the services we have an affiliate partnership with, but we aim to cover them the same as any other service.
- In case you missed the update to the web version of last week's newsletter, on top of the new episodes of SEAL Team, season 2 of Evil has finally arrived on Paramount+ in Canada as well, several months after the season came out stateside. As a result, the season will not be airing on Global or any other Corus channel, at least at this point. Thanks again to reader Tish who pointed this out to us.
- HBO Max has ordered a new one-hour iteration of the Degrassi franchise from the franchise's current owners, WildBrain, which is scheduled to debut in 2023. WildBrain, which owns Family Channel (which aired the last iteration of the Degrassi franchise, Next Class, in Canada, despite being available on Netflix elsewhere) told the Canadian Press that there is currently no news to share about Canadian broadcast rights.
Because WildBrain (previously DHX) is producing the series and handling international distribution, it does not fall under WarnerMedia's output deal with Bell Media / Crave for HBO Max originals. That said, we wouldn't be shocked if Bell and WildBrain figured out a way to share the rights – particularly as WildBrain doesn't really have a comparable streaming outlet of its own.
- Super Channel has confirmed that it will air the ninth season of When Calls the Heart Sundays at 8:00 p.m. ET starting March 6, day-and-date with its U.S. broadcast on Hallmark Channel. The series, of course, started well before Hallmark began its partnership with W Network which covers newer series and most movies.
- Fox announced on Wednesday that Monarch, which we noted last week that Global had picked up in Canada ahead of its scheduled debut in late January, will be rescheduled for the fall due to coronavirus-related production issues.
- All of the Bell Media-managed Discovery linear channels – including Animal Planet, ID, Velocity, and Science – are now in free preview across most providers from January 11 (this past Thursday) until Friday, February 10. A number of new programs and seasons will be airing during the free preview period. Unfortunately, you'll have to pay up to watch Puppy Bowl ⅩⅧ, which premieres just after this window, on Sunday, February 13.
Recent updates on WCIW
- We've added a post about The Matrix Resurrections, which as mentioned last week is now available for premium digital rental and purchase.
- We've also updated our posts about Evil and (belatedly) Space Jam: A New Legacy to reflect updated streaming availability.
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We'll see you again next week.