Watching This Week #112
Listings for May 29 to June 4, 2023; Corus channels appear set to leave Eastlink.
News from mid-July 2022, including wider distribution for some Telus Presents programs, and updates on "The Bear" and "The Patient".
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Welcome to the July 16, 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.
This week, we have updates on Jurassic World Dominion on premium rental, FX's The Bear and The Patient (that's two separate shows, to be clear), and news on where the Commonwealth Games will be available in Canada this year. But first, some developments in Telus Presents programming.
You may recall from past editions of this newsletter that Canada's largest telecom provider without a media division has been slowly building out its answer, of sorts, to the exclusive or bundled offerings of the likes of Bell and Rogers.
In late 2020, it launched Telus Presents, a lineup of programs like I Hate Suzie and Perpetual Grace Ltd. available on-demand to subscribers to its Optik TV service in the west. Telus has never technically marketed these programs as exclusives, but many have been very difficult for Canadians outside Telus' wireline footprint to watch.
Earlier this year, Telus launched its Stream+ bundle for mobility subscribers, offering Netflix, Discovery+, and Apple TV+ for a reduced bundled price. At that time, we asked if the company had considered adding Telus Presents to that offering, but Telus simply said they might consider it as an option for the future.
Now, it seems Telus has decided to actually do exactly that, launching an online portal called Telus TV+ which offers, at least for now, a small number of programs from the Telus Presents lineup, including dramas The Responder (starring Martin Freeman, also on BritBox in Canada) and Picnic at Hanging Rock (a 2018 miniseries that also aired on Bravo / CTV Drama), and a handful of Mary Berry baking specials. There are also several Telus-funded documentaries and docuseries, most if not all of which are also available for free on YouTube.
The portal is now listed as a feature of Stream+, but here at WCIW headquarters, where we have a Telus Mobility subscription but not Stream+, we tried signing in over the weekend to the Telus TV+ site using MyTelus credentials and had no difficulty accessing the site and watching video. We've kept checking to see if we'd triggered some sort of additional subscription by signing in and accepting the terms, but nothing like that has appeared in our account, and we were never presented with a standalone price of TTV+ during that sign-in process.
That said, there is a separate paid option: non-Telus users can sign in with just a Google account, following which they're presented with the option to sign up for Telus TV+ for $2 per month. We believe this option is something Telus has to offer, to keep the service in compliance with CRTC rules that prevent tying online content to specific service providers. At this point, we don't see enough content that would get many people to stay subscribed for very long, even at $2, but Telus could have charged a lot more and still been onside, as shown by the recent decision over Quebecor's Vrai service.
To be clear, Telus TV+ still does not offer some Telus Presents programs like the aforementioned I Hate Suzie or Australian series The Newsreader, so perhaps Telus' rights to those shows are contractually restricted to Optik TV. But perhaps other new programs added to Telus Presents going forward will make it onto TTV+ too... maybe?
Here's a reader question we received recently by email (email@example.com) 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: Is there anywhere to watch the series Bridge and Tunnel in Canada? I've always enjoyed the work of Ed Burns.
Response: Unfortunately, we haven't come across anything yet about Canadian availability of that series, which airs on Epix in the U.S. and is produced and distributed by MGM. Perhaps it'll be released eventually in Canada on Paramount+ (like fellow recent Epix/MGM series Billy the Kid), or on Prime Video (given that Amazon now owns both MGM and Epix) – but, again, we can't suggest much in terms of timeframe.
In addition to update to our posts on The Bear (as discussed above) and Spider-Man: No Way Home (now streaming on Prime Video in Canada), we've added posts about Abbott Elementary (nominated for multiple Emmy awards this past week), as well as this past weekend's (British) Open, which had a somewhat confusing Canadian rights situation this year.
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