A photograph of the CBC building in Toronto on April 4, 2012. CBC says it plans to launch a paid version of a new CBC TV app that will let viewers watch programs without ads. The broadcaster says in a memo that the new app will allow users to live stream CBC TV, watch episodes on demand on the same day they’re released, see ad-free children’s programing, and see series not aired on the network. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

A photograph of the CBC building in Toronto on April 4, 2012. CBC says it plans to launch a paid version of a new CBC TV app that will let viewers watch programs without ads. The broadcaster says in a memo that the new app will allow users to live stream CBC TV, watch episodes on demand on the same day they’re released, see ad-free children’s programing, and see series not aired on the network. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

CBC says new paid streaming app an experiment in evolving viewer habits

TORONTO — While Netflix and CraveTV boast about their arsenals of blockbuster series, the CBC’s new streaming app is hoping to find a niche with news junkies and hockey fans.

The national broadcaster lobbed a uniquely Canadian offering into the streaming marketplace on Tuesday that could appeal to cord cutters who have missed some homegrown content since giving up on their cable packages.

For $4.99 a month, consumers get a live stream of the CBC News Network and commercial-free access to the CBC’s TV library, including “Kim’s Convenience,” “Baroness Von Sketch Show” and “Schitt’s Creek.”

But viewers don’t necessarily have to pony up the subscription fee to watch most of the content. A free version of the app doesn’t include access to CBC’s news channel but still streams the network’s TV shows with commercials.

There’s also free access to live streams of CBC’s 14 regional local TV channels, no matter where you are in Canada, including Saturday night broadcasts of “Hockey Night in Canada.”

Throwing open the doors to its programming is part of an experiment to see how viewers will react, said Richard Kanee, the CBC’s executive director of digital.

“What we’re doing at this stage is trying to learn with our audience,” he said.

“For us this is all a starting point.”

CBC News Network has already been offered as a standalone streaming service for years for $6.95 a month.

Kanee said the CBC carefully considered the pricing of its new premium app by comparing against other streaming services like Sportsnet Now ($24.99 a month), Netflix ($8.99 and up) and CraveTV ($7.99).

He said the revamped CBC app is part of the broadcaster’s ongoing efforts to meet the requirements of its government-instituted mandate under the Broadcasting Act. The CBC is required to make its programming accessible throughout the country by the most appropriate and efficient means available.

The CBC has also taken its marquee news program “The National” online and streams it live, for free, across a number of platforms, including Facebook and YouTube.

Brahm Eiley, president of Convergence Research Group, suggested the CBC’s new premium app will be especially attractive to the more than four million Canadian households that don’t have a traditional cable or satellite package.

“There’s huge space for these types of products,” Eiley said.

“In the long run it’s the right move. This is where things are going.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

An Air Canada Boeing 737 MAX 8 jet arrives at Halifax Stanfield International Airport on Friday, April 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Air Canada agrees to $5.9-billion aid package, giving Ottawa equity stake in airline

$1.4 billion earmarked to help reimburse thousands of customers

Innisfail RCMP say Brandon Pitts is missing. (Photo contributed)
Missing central Alberta man

Innisfail RCMP request public’s help

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shakes hands with Yukon Premier Sandy Silver as Liberal on Wednesday February 8, 2017 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Yukon headed for minority government as two main parties in a tie

Liberals came into the election looking to build on their surprise 2016 majority win

Minister of National Defence Harjit Sajjan takes part in a year-end interview with The Canadian Press at National Defence headquarters in Ottawa on Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020. Sajjan took aim at recent Chinese military expansions into the South China Sea this evening even as he faced questions about the Liberal government’s ties to Beijing. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Sajjan targets Chinese claims in South China Sea, battles Tories over Beijing ties

HMCS Calgary shadowed for at least part of the voyage as it passed near the disputed Spratly Islands

Transport trucks approach the Canada/USA border crossing in Windsor, Ont. on Saturday, March 21, 2020. North American trade is facing a “critical moment” in the ongoing aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, say Canadian business leaders as they embark on a concerted campaign to fortify ties with the United States. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Rob Gurdebeke
Canada-U.S. trade faces ‘critical moment’ that demands urgent action, businesses warn

Will fall to Canada to ensure its best interests are represented

FILE-Team Canada’s Meaghan Mikkelson fights for control of the puck with U.S.A.’s Hayley Scamurra during third period of Women’s Rivalry Series hockey action in Vancouver, Wednesday, February 5, 2020. Gina Kingsbury, Hockey Canada’s director of women’s national teams, hopes a Rivalry Series against the United States can happen this winter.THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Michael Dwyer
Canadian women’s hockey team to open selection camp in Nova Scotia

Six goaltenders, 15 defenders and 26 forwards will vie for spots on Canada’s 23-player roster

FILE - Rhian Wilkinson, left, and Melissa Tancredi of Canada’s women’s soccer team attend a news conference in Vancouver, Friday, Jan. 13, 2017 to announce their retirement from the team. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Former Canadian international Rhian Wilkinson now part of England coaching setup

Wilkinson left Canada Soccer in January to join interim England head coach Hege Riise as an assistant

Canadian actor/producer/director Jay Baruchel is photographed at the 5 Drive-In Theatre in Oakville, Ont., ahead of the premier of Baruchel’s movie Random Acts of Violence, Wednesday, July 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston
Jay Baruchel to host Amazon Prime Video’s ‘LOL: Last One Laughing Canada’

Final comedian left standing wins a grand prize for a charity of their choice

Letters
Letter: Leaders like MLA Jason Stephan should work towards greater good

Red Deer South MLA Jason Stephan talks about the devastating social and… Continue reading

Opinion
Opinion: Women, hit hardest by pandemic, key to economic recovery

Events of the past year have laid bare the many disparities and… Continue reading

Children at the Port Angeles Boys & Girls Club practice social distancing throughout the day to minimize the spreading of germs and potentially the coronavirus. Photo courtesy of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Olympic Peninsula
Opinion: Teach young people these five principles

At all ages, young people may be the subject of mean behaviours… Continue reading

LtE bug
Letter: MLAs need to think about all Albertans

I was surprised to find more than a dozen UCP MLAs were… Continue reading

Most Read