The service, previously known as ‘Project Latte’ (because, Bell says, the monthly fee is the same price as a latte), will roll out next Thursday (December 11) and cost half as much as its major rivals, Netflix and Shomi.
Bell said Crave will complement traditional TV “as an additive service featuring exclusive, premium programming, all at an affordable price”. It added that it is looking at some early stage projects that it might produce as originals for the service. Phil King, president of sports, and entertainment programming at Bell-owned CTV will oversee the independent production strategy for the new OTT service.
CraveTV enters a competitive Canadian online TV market. Netflix, which costs C$7.99 a month for existing subs and C$8.99 for new customers, is the longest-standing OTT player with an estimated 3.5 million subs.
Cable and TV companies Shaw and Rogers run the Shomi service, which costs US$8.99 a month. It launched in November, and no subscriber numbers have yet been broken out.
Bell has been aggressively acquiring for Crave, buying Hollywood film and TV series, UK drama as well as comedy and factual programming. It has some exclusive rights and will launch shows such as Lionsgate’s Manhattan, Hulu’s Deadbeat and Red Arrow’s Bosch as ‘originals’.
“Right out of the gate, CraveTV delivers an incredible offering of some of TV’s most-watched and most-loved shows, with more to come,” said Mike Cosentino, senior VP, programming, Bell Media. “New content will be added every week on #iCraveFridays.”