It’s like Netflix, but less good

No cable. Gets Netflix.

No cable. Gets Netflix.

Canadian broadcasters Shaw and Rogers have teamed up to launch their version of Netflix. It’s like Netflix, but with less stuff and some of the same stuff found in Netflix and online in other places. Also, the name is “shomi” which I am already going to nickname Sham-wow.

Bell is also supposed to launch some kind of online streaming service in the future. Also to compete with Netflix. It’s the perfect plan.

Basically, the feeling I’m getting is that Canadian broadcasters think the only thing keeping them from rolling around in more money is Netflix. So they’re trying to mimic Netflix. It might work for a little while, but since they still have to compete with each other to buy American programs (and only sometimes actually produce a Canadian show), operate radio stations, and run mobile networks (for Rogers and Bell), I have to think they’ll spread themselves too thin to make their streaming services anywhere near-stocked enough to lure anyone away from Netflix.

Unless the Canadian broadcasters figure out the one thing they can do that Netflix can’t. It’s something we go on about around here: produce endless amounts of original – Canadian – content. Then fill a streaming service with that and every episode of The Littlest Hobo, The Beachcombers, and Slings and Arrows. It means setting aside competitive interests to collaborate and create a service with a difference. Sort of like a Canadian version of Hulu.

That this new service is only coming out of the gate with 30% CanCon is a bit disappointing too. I’m sure Netflix doesn’t have 30% CanCon right now but I know they’ve got a number of Canadian titles in the library, without any prodding from the CRTC. Funny how the networks keep jumping on Netflix’s lack of Canadian programming requirements when the networks spend more money on American programming and hours and hours of daily news rather than scripted Canadian shows.

Oh, and you won’t even be able to access the Sham-Wow without a Shaw or Rogers cable or Internet subscription, at least initially.

Netflix may be a competitive threat to Canadian networks for viewers, but I don’t think the broadcasters have figured out exactly why just yet. It’s not that Netflix is on the Internet, or has movies and television, it’s that they’re offering programming you can’t pick up anywhere else (for what seems like free), and it’s all there when you want it (I’m looking at you CityTV, for only having a couple of episodes available at a time).

Streaming in a way that is similar but not quite as good as Netflix, and splitting that up again if Bell launches its own streaming service, might win over a few eyeballs in the short-term, but when Netflix starts producing Canadian shows and wins all the eyeballs back, I wonder if the networks will then figure out the long-game. Make your own shows, that cannot be found elsewhere, and you have a real reason for people to watch.