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The real problem with the Bell CraveTV offering

bell cravetv
bell cravetv
Bell’s CraveTV will launch on December 11th with about 300 titles including The Sopranos, Entourage, Homeland, Corner Gas, and Orphan Black.

If the idea of instant access to every single episode of Sex and the City sounds more like a threat to you than a convenience, you are only scratching the surface of Bell’s new over-the-top offering, CraveTV. Canadians can enjoy a one month CraveTV free trial, but is the service worth paying for after that?

Bell, of course, is doing what every other cable operator everywhere is doing; trying to stem the tide of cord cutting with new Netflix or Hulu-like services. But the problem with CraveTV is the same problem with the recent Rogers/Shaw shomi offering; it’s too late and the content probably isn’t differentiated enough to unseat the incumbent Netflix or the myriad of other services that Canadians are accessing through Virtual Private Networks, which have become enormously popular here.

Below: The Most Recent CraveTV Commercial…

Bell CraveTV will launch on December 11th with about 300 titles including The Sopranos, Entourage, Homeland, Corner Gas, and Orphan Black. The company expects to double the amount of content it has within a year.

Will this be enough to convince Bell subscribers to keep paying their cable bill? That would be a wildly optimistic outcome.

As of August, 2015 CraveTV said it had 730,000 users. But Netflix is much, much, bigger, reaching four out of every ten English speaking Canadians. Bell says it will expand the service to all Canadians, not just Bell subscribers, in early 2016, effectively tripling its reach. But going head to head with Netflix will be an uphill battle for CraveTV, to say the least.

A recent study by The Convergence Consulting Group revealed that the industry added just 2000 new Canadian TV subscribers in 2013, a number that fell drastically from the addition of 37,000 new subscribers in 2012. So what’s on tap for 2014? The study says cable operators will lose 32,000 subscribers this year.

The real problem with the service is that Bell isn’t taking the problem its sets out to address seriously enough. A better solution would be to offer CraveTV free to current subscribers. Instead, Bell is asking them to increase the size of their cable bill by forking over four more dollars a month for content.

Bell Media president Kevin Crull doesn’t think those bailing on a cable bill that totals, on average, $65 each month, are tech savvy leaders. He characterizes this growing crowd as consumers who don’t fully appreciate his company’s product.

“The 10 per cent that aren’t TV subscribers, in a general sense, they’re not TV lovers,” said Crull in a recent interview.

There’s no doubt that CraveTV will be an enjoyable and convenient experience for many. The real problem with the service is that Bell isn’t taking the problem its sets out to address seriously enough. A better solution would be to offer CraveTV free to current subscribers. Instead, Bell is asking them to increase the size of their cable bill by forking over four more dollars a month for content. Crull describes this as a “fantastic value”. It remains to be seen whether Bell subscribers will agree.

 

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About The Author /

Cantech Letter founder and editor Nick Waddell has lived in five Canadian provinces and is proud of his country's often overlooked contributions to the world of science and technology. Waddell takes a regular shift on the Canadian media circuit, making appearances on CTV, CBC and BNN, and contributing to publications such as Canadian Business and Business Insider.

Comment

  1. Considering how video on demand is offered free to subscribers of Shaw Direct content, it’s a slap in the face from Bell to expect their customers to pay another $4 for CraveTV. Shame on you Bell

  2. Personally, I think the major issue is the Cable/Telco companies commercial over kill. I have Netflix, and would never go back to commercial filled television. Would I switch to SHOMI, or CRAVETV, NOT GONNA HAPPEN. NETFLIX is just so much better.

  3. I’m a Bell customer, and if you are already subscribed to TMN & HBO you get Crave included in the package. Not too bad, really.

  4. Corner Gas the movie as an exclusive ? Well be still my beating heart.
    99% of viewers don’t care if the content is homegrown or not, they want quality and relevance. This has next to no contemporary relevance and the quality is, well let’s say vintage and not stale.

  5. After trying Netflix Canada for a grand total of 10 minutes before cancelling, I’m a little leery of spending the time signing up to CraveTV. Because I’m a couchsurfer, I don’t have a Rogers or Bell television subscription, so what I was hoping for was something Netflix Canada was billed to be.

  6. I have not signed up with either Netflix Canada, Shomi or CraveTV. None of them have the one single title I have been looking for now for over half a year.

  7. It’s unfortunate that one of the most valuable companies in the world treat their customers this way. I subscribe to Netflix, there is enough content here to keep the family happy. CraveTV looks interesting but there doesn’t seem to be anything there that is a must have. What Bell should have done is licensed all this content to Netflix. Instead they’re trying to compete, by charging their customer more on top of already outrageous cable TV prices.

  8. I am a Bell customer and have Crave TV now, for free as part of TMN. I watch with an iPad app until its on my tv as well. I also had Netflix, still have Acorn TV. from UK. I was able to find an excellent series from Australia “Secrets And Lies “on Crave TV. I do not watch much tv just news, but i do have an iPad binge addiction to streaming shows:-)

  9. If you get Unblock-Us for $4.99 a month, then you can access Netflix USA which has much more content!

  10. Why not either use an Open DNS From the US or maybe a free service like Hola addon for Chrome. There are many other easy to use methods for signing into US Netflix in Canada that don’t cost a cent yet you chose to tell people to pay for something to access something that they shouldn’t be accessing anyways?

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