Bell Media unveils CraveTV premium streaming service
Published Wednesday, December 3, 2014 9:33AM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, December 3, 2014 10:10AM EST
Bell Media officially unveiled its plans on Wednesday for the launch of CraveTV, a premium television streaming service offering thousands of hours of exclusive on-demand TV series, comedy specials and documentary programming.
The service will cost $4 a month and launches on Dec. 11 for Bell Fibe TV, Bell Aliant FibreOP TV, Eastlink, Northwestel and Telus Optik TV subscribers. It will be available through traditional set-top television boxes and on a variety of other platforms, including desktop computers, smartphone apps and, in February, on the Xbox One gaming console.
CraveTV will have the exclusive Canadian rights to HBO's full catalogue of off-air scripted shows, including game-changing series such as “The Sopranos,” “Sex and the City,” "The Wire" and "Six Feet Under."
In addition to its formidable library of television classics, CraveTV will exclusively stream old seasons of current TV hits such as "The Flash," "Arrow," "Orphan Black" and the ongoing BBC sci-fi standout "Doctor Who."
As an added bonus, CraveTV subscribers will have the opportunity to watch Canadian-made television series such as "Saving Hope" one night before they air on primetime television.
Bell Media President Kevin Crull announced the service's new name and full details at a press event in Toronto Wednesday morning, where he walked onto the stage with a latte in hand to start the presentation.
"I'm addicted to these things, just like I'm addicted to fantastic television," Crull said.
He then revealed the CraveTV name, which replaces the "Project Latte" codename Bell Media used in several content announcements for the service last month.
Crull said the admittedly "lame" codename was fitting, because CraveTV will be "less than the price of your daily latte, but more addictive."
CraveTV is the only service in North America with streaming rights to "Seinfeld." It will also boast first-look streaming rights to “Corner Gas: the Movie,” the much-anticipated Canadian comedy.
Crull said television marathon-watching is a "way of life" for today's TV viewers, and CraveTV will "fill a gap" between linear television and existing streaming services. CraveTV will be the only streaming service with off-air premium television series and old seasons of current smash-hit favourites, along with a number of critically-acclaimed documentaries, music features and comedy specials.
The service will also offer three CraveTV original series: Lionsgate's "Man(h)attan," the Hulu comedy "Deadbeat" and the Amazon crime thriller "Bosch."
"We think this is innovative," said Mike Cosentino, senior vice-president of programming for CTV Networks. He added that the CraveTV catalogue will be curated "by Canadians, for Canadians" based on current TV viewing trends.
Cosentino said CraveTV developers are "laser-focused on building a can't-miss wishlist inventory" of television shows that aren't available on any other streaming service.
New content will be added every week on "#ICraveFridays," with a new big-name hit series joining the catalogue once a month, Cosentino said.
The service will be ad-free at launch.
Crull said the goal is to have CraveTV available through all television content providers, including RogersTV.
"I think their customers are going to be clamouring for this product," Crull said.
As part of the CraveTV launch, six Torontonians will attempt to break the 90-hour world record for binge-watching television at special booths set up on Queen Street.