Rogers and Shaw reveal video-on-demand service shomi

Can shomi become the new Netflix?

Rogers Communications and Shaw Communications finally unveiled their long-rumoured subscription video-on-demand service Tuesday. Named shomi, it will be available on multiple platforms including tablet, mobile, online, Xbox 360 and set top boxes beginning the first week of November, with a subscription fee of $8.99.

It will launch in beta first to Rogers and Shaw internet or TV customers.

The two companies said the service will feature more than 11,000 hours of past seasons of the most popular TV shows – including Modern Family, 24: Live Another Day, Chicago Fire, The Strain and 2 Broke Girls combined with first-window premieres.

Nearly one third of the content will be Canadian, comprised of TV shows and classic films. Shomi’s content at launch includes:

  • 14,000 episodes and titles
  • 11,000 hours of TV shows
  • 1,200 movies
  • 340 TV series

The service will employ a team of programming experts, combined with algorithmic technology, to help users find shows they want to watch. Rogers Media president Keith Pelley likened the service to a “new-age video clerk, serving up the best content based on individual viewing habits.

“We’ve taken the time to talk with Canadians to find out what they want and to create an unbelievable user experience,” said Pelley, in a release. “They told us loud and clear – they want all the past seasons of the most popular, current TV shows shows and they want it to be easy.”

Other enhanced features include trailers and factoids for movie titles to make their selections, while the service also promises a “visually appealing” interface. Shomi will allow up to six profiles per account.

The challenge for shomi is usurping market leader Netflix, which has a firmly established presence in Canada. A recent study by Media Technology Monitor found that nearly one third (32%) of Anglophone Canadians currently use the service, up from 25% a year ago.

Shomi is a joint venture owned equally by Rogers and Shaw. It will operate as a standalone entity with its own management team.

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