Netflix co-founder and CEO Reed Hastings will be in Toronto Wednesday to launch an online video subscription service that allows Canadians to download their favorite flicks and TV shows for a monthly fee.
Netflix entering the Canadian market, its first foreign expansion, has local video distribution players girding for cutthroat competition as still more Internet content-streaming behemoths like Apple TV and Boxee get set to launch north of the border.
Phone giant BCE Inc. ten days ago unveiled a $3.2 billion deal to acquire top-rated national TV network CTV, and cable giant Shaw Communications has a deal in the works to purchase rival broadcaster Canwest Global Communications Corp. for $2 billion.
They and other players like cable giants Rogers Communications and Quebecor Media have been bolstering their online video offerings in recent months in anticipation of Netflix’s expansion northwards, and lowering the cost of their data plans.
Netflix’s Canuck offering will be only online streaming, with no physical DVD rentals planned, at least for now.