Pour one out for Shomi, the latest online streaming service to kick the bucket.
Since Netflix cracked down on VPN server unblockers such as Hola and Spotflux, Canadians have been restricted to watching only the titles available for streaming and online viewing within the borders of the True North Strong and Free of NBC content. According to data collected in April 2016, that’s approximately 2,032 less titles to watch than American Netflix subscribers.
Luckily, Shaw Communications and Rogers Communications saw this gap, and quickly jumped to give Canadians what we need. In August of 2015, Shomi expanded availability to all Canadians, with licensing rights to content Canadian Netflix couldn’t provide. Because licensing agreements are so particular and completely at the mercy of the owners, content rights are a hot commodity.
Thanks to Shomi’s parent companies Roger’s and Shaws’ existing relationships with licensees, it hosts exclusive rights to content that Netflix can’t even sign to. Because of licensing agreements with CRTC, Shomi is also required to host more Canadian made content than Netflix. Shomi determines their content with Rotten Tomatoes, IMBD and user feedback. Rather than hosting any titles they can cheaply get the licensing for, (nobody wants to watch the 1974 non hit Earthquake, NETFLIX), Shomi meticulously selects the content they provide.The Content Team watches all shows and selects the ones they think the people will enjoy the most. They even give subscribers the first two months free! Literally the Canadian response to Netflix. Sign me up, not sorry.
But much like a breezy Canadian summer always shift into a bitterly cold winter, everything comes to an end. Shomi announced early this week that they will be shutting down as of November 30th, 2016. According to David Asch, senior vice-president and general manager for shomi, “The business climate and online video marketplace have changed markedly in the last few years.” Rogers Communications is reporting a loss on investment of $100 million to $140 million in its third quarter, which ends this week. Only half a million Canadian households use Shomi, whereas 5.4 million use Netflix. Because it’s so new and less popular than Netflix, Shomi couldn’t continue to lose revenue to licensing agreements without gaining more subscribers. And while Shomi is no longer accepting new subscriptions, valued users can continue to binge right until the bitter end. Rest in Peace Shomi, you will be missed.
Shomi (2016) http://www.shomi.com/ourStory
Netflix Canada vs. Netflix USA: Why Do We Get The Shaft? (Bolen, 2013)
How Netflix Pays For Movie and TV Show Licensing (Investopedia, 2016)
Web streaming service Shomi to shut down as of Nov. 30 (The Canadian Press, 2016)