Rogers rumoured to launch a video service called ‘Showmi’ to compete with Netflix, investing upwards of $100 million

Ian Hardy

January 10, 2014 9:35am

Rogers has made big bets in the past and in 2014 it looks like the trend will continue. According to a report by Cartt.ca, Rogers will spend upwards of $100 million to launch its own over-the-top video service (OTT) to take on rivals like Netflix.

Apparently Rogers has already signed several content deals with big name providers such as Disney/ABC, Warner Bros., 20th Century Fox, along with Canadian players like Bell Media and Shaw Media. Another interesting angle is that Rogers has reportedly worked out an agreement with Canadian entertainment giant Cineplex as a partner in the potential streaming service.

An unknown Rogers source stated, “They are buying up all the rights, all the windows, to everything in order to keep them out of the hands of Netflix in Canada. What they also say they want to do is target all the twentysomethings who don’t have cable with this – and then hopefully pull them into the system.”

The name of the rumoured Rogers video service is currently called ‘Showmi’ and is estimated to go live in April, possibly modelling itself after US-based Hulu with monthly subscription that would give unlimited access on TV’s, computers, tablets, gaming consoles and smartphones.

Quebec-based Videotron recently launched its $9.99/month illico Club Unlimited video-on-demand service back in February, 2013. The service is only available in Québec and Ontario and mainly offers French-language content that includes the latest movies, TV shows and documentaries.

Source: Cartt.ca

  • canuck07

    I think they meant “Showmithemoney”.

    • wildspin

      or, showmiyourfinger. ;-)

  • Super_Deluxe

    This could work at the right price and at $6.99 this could put some pressure on Netflix but I do use the American Netflix in my household so they’ll have to do a lot to swoop me in. Also if they give their subscribers a discount that would be even better for them. Although knowing Rogers pricing scheme it won’t be impressive but hopefully the pricing will atleast make it worth the content.

    • Harold Mitchell

      I agree, a VPN is the way to go to access the vastly superior US Netflix.

    • RealDeal83

      PSA: you don’t need a VPN to get US Netflix. Only need to change DNS servers (Google it), or you can use Hola plugin for Chrome (unlocks US, UK and other Netflix countries as well)

    • JTon

      I prefer MediaHint plugin because it works with firefox as well. Also if someone with the technical background can explain how this approach works, that would be nice. You are contacting a DNS located in the US. But your IP address is still Canadian. Does netflix simply not care that you’re accessing their US content servers with a foreign IP??

    • Stimulator

      I agree, Media Hint is great!

    • TrainAss

      Using a VPN is against the Netflix TOS and can result in your account being banned.

    • Me Ted

      That’s nice. Theoretically going 1km over the speed limit can get you a ticket. Find me someone who has ever been penalized for doing either.

    • Jon MacDonald

      My guess is it’ll be an add-on only available to people with bundled internet/cable. Useless.

    • Super_Deluxe

      That would fail because their Cable and Internet service is only available in a few major cities.

    • HelloCDN

      Like hell they will. At the very least, you would have to have a regular subscription with them, and pay extra $19/month for this. The only reason they’re starting this is because they can’t bear to see how Netflix makes the streaming service more accessible for us.

  • Sam

    Show me the content. Canadian Netflix is a joke compared to US.

    • DJZone

      Unblock-us. Surf any netflix from any country. Although I’ve noticed the Canadian netflix has been getting better recently. I used to ignore it completely but nowadays their selection of movies is similar to the US

    • Stimulator

      Install Media Hint in Chrome/Firefox and voila!

    • hyperhyper

      My guess is that if you watch all your movies on your laptop (e.g. through your browser) this would work but if you consumed through other means (WDLive, Boxee, PS4, etc..) then you your best bet is a proxy service.

    • Jayme Reid

      Keep in mind Netflix Canada is only a coupl years old it took years before Netflix got to where it is.

  • Nicolo Orlando

    Who wants to bet using this service will not count towards your data cap if you are a Rogers customer?

    • Roger Payne

      I think you mean “will count”

    • Nicolo Orlando

      No i meant will not. As a further incentive to move you off of Netflix I could see them saying something like ‘hey use our service and you won’t take a hit on your data cap, but use netflix and your data cap will take a hit’

    • Roger Payne

      Lol wishful thinking. They might reduce the throttling, but no way that gets publicly advertised.

    • Nicolo Orlando

      I actually do not want them to do that as it moves away from net neutrality. Even reducing the throttling is BS for the same reason. Hopefully they don’t do it but I just wouldn’t put it past them

    • VGA Fred

      I agree, usually competition is a good thing, but Rogers isn’t going to fight fair. Instead of trying to compete with Netflix, they are probably just going to try and put them out of business by whatever means necessary.

    • Jayme Reid

      Its far worse in the States and yet it has not put Netflix out of business.

    • hyperhyper

      Rogers has to leverage this because they simply cannot compete in other areas such as product functionality, price, support or new feature design. They are like Microsoft back in the 90s where they are going to leverage their other markets to try and keep control.

      It’s part of the cycle of big companies – they grow big, fat and lazy and then they are passed by small nimble companies refuse to give in because they are tired of the status quo. History repeats itself and Rogers will be no different.

    • Jayme Reid

      The small companys might have better prices and features but they don’t have the content.

    • hyperhyper

      If you are worried about bandwidth limits in today’s day and age, I think it’s time you change internet providers.

      This has not been an issue for a few years and that should never factor into your decision to use a video streaming service.

    • Brent Beatty

      You will be worried about bandwidth in the future with companies like Rogers, Shaw and Telus who all cap data! It is coming just wait.

    • Eric Houstoun

      exactly, this is why there was concern over Bell buying Astral. The problem is that with ownership of the infrastructure and a competing product it’s horribly stacked in favor of companies like Bell or Rogers or Shaw. Bell already does this in a manner with FibeTV, which uses their internet infrastructure but doesn’t use your bandwidth.

      It’s a huge conflict of interests.

    • bigballa70minus1

      Why would it count towards your data cap? The content would be delivered over their RF video network just like their video on demand service

  • Cristian Tane

    I doubt they can be better than the US Netflix, so I’ll most likely pass.

    • Quadron

      They probably won’t even have more content than Antarctica Netflix

    • S2556

      They have the best penguin documentary’s!

    • wildspin

      Content wise, the British Netflix is way better than the US Netflix. :-)

    • Roger Payne

      Doesn’t need to be better than US Netflix. But if they can succeed in being better than Netflix Canada (or as somebody below humorously put it ‘better than Antarctica Netflix’ lol) then they have a decent shot.

    • Brent Beatty

      They will most likely have access to content right after it airs. They own media, and Shaw and Bell own everything else. This will replace TV and basically gives you everything that TV does but online. Waaaay sooner than Netflix.

  • Samuel Gomez Recuero

    I for once, living in QC, will never use the videotron one cause is mainly French and I hate to see translated movies from English to French cause the voices they choose sometimes go completely wrong with the real actor

  • kroms

    Rogers would like to thank all the faithful that have been taking up the rear to fund our little projects. Please continue as we need MORE MONEY !.

  • kroms

    $100 Million.

    Time to raise the plans again and Increase Cable and Internet while we are at it.

  • hardy83

    “What they also say they want to do is target all the twentysomethings who don’t have cable with this – and then hopefully pull them into the system.”

    ROFL. Yeah. Good luck with that.
    A generation that’s grown up on piracy and cheap streaming is going to be convinced to pay $100+ for cable.

    • Roger Payne

      I think you’re missing the entire point.

      Instead of targeting younger generations with a $100 cable product. This new proposed project would compete with Netlflix/Hulu/etc. at the $8-10 price range.

      Whether you think their reputation precedes them with respects to their ability to execute this, well that’s a different story.

    • hardy83

      I’m not mocking the Hulu/Netflix thing they are doing. I’m mocking the comment that using such thing would be able to lead 20 somethings to pay for $100+ cable.

      Whether that’s an official Rogers employee or not, I dunno, but it’s still a funny comment.

    • Roger Payne

      Again, just because they want you to be a Cable “subscriber” (i.e. customer) doesn’t mean they’re looking to make you a cable box customer. I think what he’s saying is that they are trying to lead younger customers to their cable products, even if it’s not your traditional cable service. Remember, if you subscribe to their Internet service only, you’re still considered a cable customer.

    • Jayme Reid

      There cable side of things is some what limited its in Ontario and parts of the East Coast while this service could be Canada wide.

    • Eric Houstoun

      I think that is very much what they are intending. If you’ve ever dealt with a company like Rogers or Bell you’re probably familiar with their upselling tactics. By having a service like this as an entry point they would undoubtedly try to aggressively upsell subscribers to cable packages or other Rogers services. Why would they only try to get these customers on select services? they’re going to sell everything they have to offer.

  • wildspin

    They have too much money and time on hand. Why not do something simple and actually benefit the users first?

    For example, fix your crappy web site?

    IMO, this is a desperate move to revamp their failed rogers on demand exercise.

  • Jesus McDongswoggle

    It’s not a bad idea if their content was different than what Netflix offers, I’d have no problem paying under $10/month for each service.
    I’m guessing this will be Rogers’ way of forcing people to pay more for higher monthly bandwidth allowances if they want Showmi. Not sure if the 20GB per month on the $44 plan will cover it.

    • MarkLastiwka

      You mean under $10/month for each, right? Otherwise I agree with you.

    • Jesus McDongswoggle

      Yeah, under $20 for both, I edited that mistake

  • djino

    They will have to do better than U.S. Netflix /Hulu Plus to rope me in. Goodluck!

    • hyperhyper

      Ha, I was tricked into using Rogers years ago when there was no alternative but even if the price was 1/2 of what Netflix charges, I would not go. It would be like going back into an abusive relationship. Rogers treats people like garbage. I truly feel sorry for people who are forced to use them (no choice) or are too scared to try other services which are 1/2 the price and just as good.

    • Jayme Reid

      Name 1?

  • DownwithRobellus

    Take that $100 and shove it back up your

  • Frederick Edwards

    Id rather they partner with Netflix (or Amazon Prime).

    • HelloCDN

      They never will. The likes of Rogers and Bell are not in for sharing the profits. They would rather see us pay $100/month to access the content, rather than $9.99/month.

  • mad

    Rogers is too greedy to make it a good service.. they will fail..

  • Jayme Reid

    I think were going to see a ton of streaming services in 2014 in part due to many cable/dish companys and even networks are scared of pick and pay.

  • Gurtej Singh

    “want to do is target all the twenty somethings who don’t have cable with this – and then hopefully pull them into the system.” This seems about right for Rogers.

  • Terence Sawtell

    Strange their building this… when their landline network is so out of date and behind. Why spend money on a data intensive product when your network can barely support what it does now??

    • Jayme Reid

      The future of tv is online so maybe Rogers sees that and is going to aqct now and get ahead of the ball.

    • expat

      The future of TV is online, and with uneducated school dropouts, as shown by the quality of TV shows. I cannot fathom why people still want to watch TV. To each his own, I guess…

  • hyperhyper

    Okay so Rogers wants me to stop subscribing to Netflix so they can offer me a solution that someone else perfected? Rogers has to be one of the technically inept companies out there. They are completely devoid of innovation and are simply milking the uneducated with their cable and wireless plans. I suspect that it will take them about 10 years to come out with a wearable smartwatch (which they think will be innovative) but by then, the majority of us will have smart headbands / glasses.

    • Jayme Reid

      All Rogers is doing it was many companys in the states have done.

    • hyperhyper

      Exactly.. it’s been done. Over and over by many others. With their resources and their market share, I would expect them to be leaders and not followers. So what do they do instead? They are going to make a clone of Netflix.

      Want to hear a product that I thought of 5 years ago that I wished Rogers would have pursued? I would have liked that whenever I PVR’ed something from TV, it would be stored in the cloud (or locally if I wanted) and then I could watch it on any medium that utilized Rogers infrastructure. That Episode of Doctor Who that I recorded last night? I would love to watch it on my phone on my lunch hour and because I’m a Rogers wireless subscriber, I could do that. If I wanted to download the episode to my phone so I could watch it at the cottage, it would unlock itself for X days and store itself on my phone so I could do that.

      Rogers already puts a ton of garbage on their phones so why not a video app? You could then watch your content on our computer because you would be using their internet service.

      Also, why can’t I use the web and have a nice interface to program my DVR instead of that embarrassing thing they currently have. They are a massive company and yet companies who are 1/100 of their size are running circles around them in terms of functionality, customer service, design and innovation. They need a good spanking in the market place so they can wake the hell up.

    • Jayme Reid

      Becareful what you wish for we could see a massive company come into Canada and things will be far far worse.

    • hyperhyper

      I have no worry about a massive company coming into Canada because the Oligopoly will do everything in it’s power to try and sway public opinion and will go crying to the government. (Verizon’s feint this summer was a good one – Rogers/Bell/Telus fell right into their hands and helped them make a deal overseas). Thankfully the government gave them a big FU and campaigned against them.

      Also, with the way things are setup here in Canada, the investment to get into Canada is so great that it is not worth the cost because the ROI is so low if you wanted to compete at the big boy level.

      The best way to do it is to start small and play off the public by exposing the greed of the Big 3 and by offering s service that disrupts their stranglehold. They will try to block it legally but it has to be something is untouchable by the government so the lobbyists can’t block it.

      We just need a small company to start something so we could slap the hell out of Rogers and their friends so we can start seeing some competition again. I love industry disrupting companies. They tend to point out the out-of-touch, slow and bloated Rogers like companies.

    • Jayme Reid

      Around 10 years ago would have been the idea time for a small company to try and start up now they really would have no chance most of the major sports content is locked up long term all 3 major players are close with the tv and movie studios.

      Even if a small company wanted to try and start up they would need billions in backing but the other thing is this could lead to Rogers and Shaw merging do we really want to see a even bigger Rogers.

    • hyperhyper

      Yeah, they have locked up the sports and kudos to them for doing that because no one can get in so they can lay back and rake in the profits without having to think now.

      Content wise, there is a lot out there and you will start to see companies like Netflix put out more original content and Google is working on it as well with YouTube. Also, who is going to be broadcasting in 4K first? Certainly not Rogers. Netflix will be there and they were not that big of a company all that long ago. Also, there is a ton of web content that is pretty good. Hopefully TV shows will skip the networks and be housed within the online world and we can do away with the middle men and have investors produce the shows directly (though the networks do provide good structure to keep things on track).

      Should be interesting to see what happens… I just know that Rogers will not be at the forefront of these developments.

    • Jayme Reid

      A year ago i would have agreed 100% with you but the last few months Rogers does seems to be opening there eyes as for shows skipping networks bottom line is they will go where the money is.

    • hyperhyper

      That is true. Roger is extremely good as sniffing out where the money is. Part of the reason I assume why they are launching their own credit card this year as they know North Americans “love” debt and what better way to make money than on money already owed to you? Anyways, we will see what Rogers will do in the coming years but I’ve been burned by them many times and so have many others on this site.

      It will take a ridiculous amount of convincing that they have changed their ways for me to ever give them money again. I don’t care how low they go in terms of price. To me, money is not everything. Integrity, honesty and respect are worth a lot more and that is something that seems to be missing within their corporate culture.

  • Bbrysucks

    There is only one group of people that’ll fall for this bs from robbers, and it’s the same folk that think bbry is kewl. Lol

  • Micheal

    Rogers Video has made a return. Who needs the video store when you can do it online for cheaper. I wouldn’t be surprised if this “Showmi” gets rebranded to Rogers Video. Rogers hasn’t lost all those agreements they had for the old video stores, they just found a better way to run that part of the company.

    • Jayme Reid

      Can’t see it being called Rogers Video as it would really be a bit misleading Showmi is a better name.

  • J-Ro

    I don’t think Rogers would be dumb enough to take the same practice as Netflix. They don’t even make a profit. I hope they did their research on how expensive this can be.

  • Who Needs Facts

    If Canada follows the US striking down the Net Neutrality laws, this may soon be the only streaming video service that will be available to many people.

  • tomthumb015

    On the other side of the pond never heard of Rogers until reading this article. Well taking on Netflix in Canada, they will need deep pockets to beat off Netflix. Over here most of Europe block’s online access to Hulu, Netflix, HBO, because of complex and outdated national copyright laws. Stupid really, so people just download popular US TV shows via torrent sites.
    Only UK, Ireland, Holland and most of Scandinavia have opened up online access to Netflix.

  • Matthew Livingstone

    Why the hell is everybody rippin on this? If they make this available on all electronics it has the possibility to surpass Netflix. Am I the only one here with Canadian and US netflix? I’ts stupid that they have a different selection ( US has more, yes but Canadian has exclusive titles as well) If a company can offer the same service with better selection I’m on board, eff the haters