Watching This Week #104
An abbreviated newsletter with updated listings for March 20-26, 2023.
News from early November 2022, including news about "Girls5eva", "The Continental", and more, plus a roundup of some recent streaming service price changes.
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Welcome to the November 7, 2022, edition of Watching This Week, the weekly newsletter from Where Can I Watch – covering the latest news on where TV shows and movies will be available in Canada.
Compiled from our monthly listings and/or any subsequent updates we've come across. We strive for accuracy but schedules may change without notice. Some series/seasons may have weekly rollouts; we won't list new episodes every week (though we may note significant episodes such as series finales). The most notable premiere for each service (in our rough estimation) is bolded. *An asterisk denotes programming added in past weeks that we've learned about since our last newsletter.
As a reminder, we may get an affiliate commission for services you sign up for through links in this newsletter, which helps support our site maintenance, at no additional cost to you. Prices are in Canadian dollars before applicable sales taxes, and may change in the future.
If you use a lot of streaming services, you may be seeing more of your subscription costs creeping up.
Apple TV+ recently bumped its prices worldwide for the first time since its launch three years ago, saying it now has an "extensive selection" of programming that justifies the higher price. In Canada, that means the monthly rate is going from $5.99 to $8.99.
Then on November 1 (though telegraphed in a recent contest prize listing), Paramount+ Canada announced it would bump its monthly price for the first time, from $5.99 to $9.99, referencing the increased range of new movies, series like Yellowstone, and more.
Disney+ will be increasing prices in the U.S. on December 8, when its new ad-supported tier launches in that country. No changes have been announced yet for Canada, where prices were last hiked in February 2021, but when we checked the service's Canadian landing page this past Thursday, it briefly had a comment referencing the U.S. Disney+ and Disney Bundle price increases (it's since been removed), so it's not entirely outside the realm of possibility.
And of course, those are in addition to price bumps earlier this year on most Netflix plans in Canada (January), as well as the Canadian price of Amazon Prime (April).
Crave hasn't changed direct-to-consumer prices for its two main tiers since November 2018, though it recalibrated those tiers slightly late last year. Of course, throughout that time, its most popular tier with full HBO programming and device support has had a premium price point at $20 a month, and the fact that it sells many of its subscriptions through TV providers might affect how quickly it can make changes.
We'll leave the nitty-gritty analysis to others, but our sense is that there's a combination of causes to all this, none of which are particularly specific to Canada. First, macroeconomic challenges like high inflation rates and (to some extent) supply chain issues around the world means that production, staff, and maintenance costs are going up across the board, even with the cost-cutting that some companies have tried to do. So the owners of these services think they can justify price hikes, which of course will also allow them to maintain (if not improve) profit margins and keep shareholders happy.
Second, post-pandemic, streaming is now in a much slower subscriber growth phase – some of that being due to those same inflation and cost-of-living issues – and service operators have to try more things than just marketing to grow revenues. It means lower-priced options like ad-supported tiers that might attract or retain a few more subscribers, but it also means services will try to get more out of those that are already subscribed, through price hikes. Even if a few cancel when prices rise, those companies are basically betting that enough will stay to offset it.
So in short: expect more of this to come.
Here's some of the reader questions we've 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.
Shane: I’m sure you’re following the latest on the Nasim Pedrad TBS show Chad [the first season of which aired in Canada on CTV Comedy] and how The Roku Channel has picked up the second season. Might Chad fall into an unavailable-to-stream limbo zone in Canada similar to what happened with Evil and SEAL Team [Global / Paramount+]? I imagine Bell Media has no incentive to assist with sorting out the rights.
WCIW: It's hard to say, but it may be worth pointing out here that Bell's rights for TBS/TNT's in-house series have generally been much more limited than, say, for HBO programming (despite also originating with the former WarnerMedia), or even compared to what Corus had for the two series you mentioned (which had multiple repeats on other Corus specialty channels). Series like Claws and Miracle Workers haven't streamed on Crave and have only had limited-time availability on the CTV app. So the kind of stalemate that occurred between Corus / Paramount seems a bit less likely to us here, but it's possible.
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