By Sahil Patel
Bell Media’s subscription video streaming service, which to date has been codenamed “Project Latte,” now has an actual name, release date, and price. Dubbed CraveTV, the service will launch on December 11, offering more than 10,000 hours of TV content — including some of the top shows currently airing in the US — for $4 per month.
Confirmed to be an authenticated streaming service, meaning that potential subscribers will need to pay for TV, CraveTV will be available for customers of Telus Optik TV, Bell Fibe TV, Bell Aliant FibreOp TV, Bell Satellite TV, and Eastlink at launch. Other Canadian pay-TV distributors, including Northwestel and Canadian Cable Systems Alliance, will offer the service to their customers at a later date.
Initially, CraveTV will be available online and across iOS- and Android-powered phones and tablets. Next year, Bell Media plans to launch CraveTV authenticated apps for Xbox consoles, Windows 8, Windows Phone, Samsung Smart TVs, and Chromecast.
The big differentiator for CraveTV, outside of the price and the fact that it’s tethered to pay-TV, is that it will have a strong library of older and current hit TV shows. HBO’s entire off-air library, including “The Sopranos,” “The Wire,” and “Sex and the City,” will be streamable. CraveTV will also offer every season of old favorites like “Seinfeld,” “Cheers,” and “Frasier,” as well as current hits like “The Big Bang Theory.” Other popular shows coming with the service include “Arrow,” “The Flash,” “Orphan Black,” and “Doctor Who.”
Overall, nearly 65% of the catalog is exclusive to CraveTV in Canada, according to Bell Media.
Some of those exclusive titles will be billed as “CraveTV originals.” Three shows — WGN America’s “Manhattan”, Amazon’s “Bosch,” and Hulu’s “Deadbeat” — will make their Canadian premieres first and only on CraveTV.
Bell Media-produced Canadian shows will also debut on CraveTV, 24 hours before their network TV premieres in the country.
All of the content will be organized under genre categories, from “crime and mystery” to “teen drama.” Subscribers will also be able to search for shows by title and new additions.