News from early December 2022, including an update on "Pennyworth" on Showcase, and CBC's winter programming plans.
Hi there! We hope your telecommunications services are all working smoothly again (if they were impacted at all). Welcome to the July 11, 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.
As we've now hit the peak of summer, the type of programming news we cover has slowed down quite a bit, but we do have some details on Prime Day offers being provided by various services, an update on FX's The Bear, and an interesting twist in the flow of HBO programming.
Crave: Now with HBO not on HBO Max (for now)
Americans and others looking for some HBO and HBO Max original programs – even relatively recent HBO U.S. series like Mrs. Fletcher (2019), or the March 31 direct-to-streaming Warner Bros. film Moonshot – have had a much tougher time finding those shows since the beginning of this month.
A number of those programs were apparently removed from HBO Max – both in the U.S. and elsewhere – without prior announcement on July 1, at least partly due to Warner Bros. Discovery reworking programming plans for its services (including the eventual, combined HBO Max / Discovery+). This also seems to include HBO U.S.'s other video-on-demand platforms where applicable (e.g., some mainline HBO series are also visible on Hulu for those subscribing to that service's HBO Max add-on – but Mrs. Fletcher and Vinyl are gone from there too).
But, so far, all of the affected shows that had been on Crave remain on the Canadian service – including Vinyl and Mrs. Fletcher, Nordic productions Beartown and Kamikaze, and streaming-only films An American Pickle and Moonshot – and these shows' pages do not yet have the kinds of "available until..." notices that usually indicate programs will be leaving Crave soon. (A few affected shows had never made it onto Crave, like Haute Dog, or even Full Bloom, even though the latter did air on CTV Life.)
Oddly, that means – at least for now – there is HBO (and HBO Max) original programming on Crave that is not available on HBO Max or anywhere else in the U.S., except maybe through digital sales. Of course, there were – and still are – also some other HBO series that aren't available on Crave, mostly sports shows like Real Sports.
But that's not a guarantee that those shows will necessarily remain for much longer, just that Warner Bros. Discovery can't quickly or unilaterally pull them off of international services which have valid licences to those shows. Though if any of those licences happened to be expiring soon, WBD presumably would not be renewing them. And of course, WBD and Bell Media could agree to pull the shows early.
So if any of these shows interest you and you hadn't gotten around to watching them yet, we encourage you to watch them on Crave now to avoid disappointment.
Having said all that, the extent of WBD's recent costcutting, combined with the tenor of recent coverage and analysis elsewhere, suggests WBD may be more open to continuing international licensing deals going forward than news items earlier in the spring suggested.
So, for the few of you who wrote in after our late-March newsletter saying they thought Bell would figure out a way to keep those HBO rights in Canada – well, we now think you may be onto something.
- Amazon Prime Day is this week (July 12–13), and as usual that means deals on new and returning subscriptions to select services on Prime Video Channels – and in some cases in other venues as well.
Most channels offered through Prime Video, including the likes of StackTV, Citytv+, Starz, BritBox, Super Channel, and AMC+ are available for 99¢ for two months (all prices before tax), before returning to their regular monthly prices (but with no long-term commitment), for those signing up through Wednesday. That's up to 92% off, at least in the case of the $12.99-per-month StackTV.
Paramount+ is also on sale on Prime Video, but instead for $2.99 (or 50% off) for three months. The same offer is also available to new and returning subscribers through P+'s own website (presumably also through this Wednesday).
- CBC News will be launching a free, ad-supported streaming TV (or "FAST") channel this fall, similar to the automated news channels aimed at cordcutters that Global and Citytv are already offering on their own platforms and on Prime Video. While there has been predictable hand-wringing about the need for such a channel, it does not sound like the cost of maintaining it will be particularly high, as it'll be mainly repurposing the nightly repeated airings of The National and content from the CBC's local newscasts, along with (for now) one original program hosted by Andrew Chang.
CBC News Network, the public broadcaster's existing news channel which is largely funded by cable/satellite subscriber fees, will remain available in its existing venues, including on CBC Gem Premium.
- Having finally issued the CBC licence renewal decision (from a public notice issued in late 2019) last month, the CRTC has kicked the ball down the road for other major broadcasting groups, renewing those licences administratively until August 2024.
Here's one of the reader questions we've received recently by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Twitter (@wherewatchtv). We welcome questions of general interest, and publish a few of them (and our answers) from time to time; messages may be edited for brevity and clarity.
Doug: One title I expected to see on Disney+ this month was The Bear, the FX comedy which is getting rave reviews. There was an announcement it was coming to that streaming service June 23 but I just checked and it still isn't there. Any idea why those plans changed?
Derek: Assume no news on The Bear from FX on Disney+ Canada (Star) after they tweeted it would be available but hasn't shown up on the service?
Response: We're not sure why they'd bother to tweet an announcement and then take it back by deleting the tweet, but this sort of delay for the well-received restaurant dramedy does seem consistent with many of FX's other direct-to-Hulu series in recent months like American Horror Stories.
There hasn't been any further announcement from Disney+ so far, but if the delay is similar to how it worked out for AHStories, The Bear will probably be available in Canada in early August. We put up a separate post with more info earlier this past week.
Recent updates on WCIW
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