Though it still carries the beta label, shomi, the new multiscreen subscription VOD service from Canadian operators Rogers Communications and Shaw Communications, got off the ground on Tuesday (November 4).
The premium service, which will tangle in the market with Netflix, sells for C$8.99 per month (US$7.87), but access to it is currently limited to Rogers and Shaw broadband or TV customers.
To help prime the pump, the MSOs are offering 30-day free trials of shomi to eligible customers. Rogers said nearly 500,000 high-speed Internet customers (those on its Hybrid Fibre 50, Hybrid Fibre 60 and Extreme tiers or above) will get shomi bundled in automatically until March 31, 2015.
Shomi will feature a library of more than 12,000 hours of content in its first year. Shomi announced recently that it will be the exclusive SVOD home in Canada for NBCU’s The Blacklist.
In the early going, shomi will support access on Web browsers, iOS- and Android-based tablets and smartphones, with support for the Xbox 360 and Google Chromecast streaming adapter “coming soon.”
Rogers and Shaw introduced shomi in August. At the time, they said the SVOD service would feature about 14,000 TV episodes and movie titles, and a library that is 30% of Canadian origin. The service allows for up to six profiles per account and lets subscribers watch on two devices, plus a set-top box, at the same time.
“Introducing shomi underscores our desire to give our customers access to the best content and services, when and where they need them,” Chris Kucharski, SVP, consumer at Shaw, said in a statement. “With its vast selection of titles and game-changing functionality, shomi will provide our customers with yet another cutting-edge high-value service in addition to Shaw Go WiFi, Rdio and our TV Everywhere library of content apps.”
Rogers and Shaw are moving ahead with their own SVOD service as some U.S. operators close down or scale back similar efforts.
Comcast confirmed that it is decommissioning its Streampix mobile apps and Streampix Web site and will stop selling Streampix to broadband-only customers. The MSO will continue to offer the Streampix library through its Xfinity TV Go app, but will continue to sell the SVOD service on an a la carte option, or give it away as a perk to customers who take certain bundled service packages.
Redbox Instant by Verizon, the Netflix-like subscription multiscreen video service managed by Verizon Communications and Outerwall, shut down on October 7, acknowledging that the service “was not as successful as we hoped it would be.”