Canadian TV web watchers can’t access Hulu, but come Monday they’ll have their very own online video TV service. Assuming they subscribe to Rogers Communications cable service.
“We’re no longer in the cable TV business,” said Dave Purdy of Rogers video product management, as he unveiled the On Demand Online service. “We’re in the video entertainment business.”
The service will be ad-supported, Rogers hopes. Premium programming will be in the mix at some point, but otherwise the content comes free. Access is limited to Rogers’ cable and/or cable modem subscribers in Canada — sorry, no border hopping allowed.
Content kicks off with about 15 broadcast partners and 19 TV and specialty channels. Rogers owns several cable channels (Citytv, Sportsnet, A&E, Bio, G4 Canada), which will be included at launch.
Rogers last month cut a deal with Michael Eisner’s Vuguru online studio, giving the cabler exclusive Canadian rights to its Web productions.
Similar to YouTube’s early model, viewers have the option of standard definition and a higher-quality offering that they’re not calling HD (cheers).
Astral Media launched TMN OnLine in October, offering the Movie Channel content to consumers who get their TV via the Bell system, which competes with Rogers.
U.S. cable giant Comcast is rolling out its ballyhooed TV Everywhere service before the end of the year, using the same interface (thePlatform) as the Rogers version. Comcast owns thePlatform, which is based in Seattle.