If you’re in Canada and haven’t been stuck under a rock lately, you’ve likely seen ads for Shomi and/or CraveTV. These new “Netflix-killers” give you great TV shows and movies online that Netflix might not have or for cheaper.

Where Did They Come From?

Shomi is jointly owned by Rogers and Shaw. CraveTV is Bell & Telus’s competing version.

They’re their attempts to grab some of Netflix’s pie by also offering streaming content online with a lot of popular tv shows and movies.

Where they especially shine is in offering a lot of TV seasons that we don’t get on Canadian Netflix (although a simple DNS switch can give you access to the US’s much improved library…)

At first, it seems pretty good – especially CraveTV’s $4/month price (Shomi is $8.99/month).

But there’s a catch!

You already need to be subscribed to Bell or Telus TV (not just internet) to use CraveTV or you need to be subscribed to Rogers or Shaw TV or Internet (which is almost reasonable).

So, if you’re in one of those boats and there’s some shows you really want to watch that they have, you can pay even more money than the likely $100+/month you’re already paying for cable and internet.

So What About the Rest of Us?

Where I live, I think the only option I might have is Bell satellite to even begin to use these services. But I don’t have cable at all. I’m a typical cord-cutting Gen Y.

We have Netflix, watch stuff online on CTV, Global, CityTV, etc… a few days after it airs, buy some shows on iTunes, or watch content on YouTube.

Unless you happen to be on Rogers or Shaw internet, these offerings are completely irrelevant to us cable-cutting hippies – which is a huge opportunity for networks to make some money.

Netflix is already so well established and, like I said before, popping in an alternate DNS to pick up American, Mexican, UK or other versions is pretty simple in order to grab a ton more content.

These companies are completely missing the boat on what they should really be focusing on: providing live TV services online.

A Better Way?

These companies are clinging onto the idea that everyone wants a cable box and PVR in their house. Lots of us don’t.

Granted, I get that they make a ton of money on having people pay $100-$200/month for cable and internet, but with so many more, cheaper options coming online, it’s not going to last.

They’re hoping to jump into that game to make money. I don’t think it’s what they should be focusing on because…

They still have a huge competitive advantage that no one can touch: the ability to offer high-quality, live content that is easy for a consumer to access.

Why they’re not focusing on developing a TV offering online for cord-cutters is a complete mystery to me. It’s something that no one else can offer.

In fact, in the States, Dish is just launching such a service called “Sling TV”. It gives you live channels like ESPN, ESPN2, CNN, TBS, TNT, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Travel Channel, Food Network, ABC Family, HGTV, Disney Channel and Maker for only $20/month. Read more on Engadget.

That is something I would pay $20/month for!

Provided they execute well, they’re going to make a killing off of it as a ton of people cut their regular cable to get on it.

And that’s what current TV providers are afraid of. They keep holding onto their current way of doing things because they’re making money, but they’re not adapting to where the market is going and it’s going to kill them.

Curious to see what happens with Shomi and CraveTV, but until they at least open it up to everyone, I don’t see it being a huge success.

Someone in Canada is going to offer online, live TV eventually. Who do you think the first will be?

I’ll likely be signing up with them.

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