Canadian cable giant Rogers Communications has launched an ad-supported online video service that THR is calling a “Canadianized Hulu.” But we think it’s more like one of the first viable attempts to launch a “TV Everywhere” service — since the premium, ad-supported video content will only be accessible to Rogers’ 2.3 million cable subscribers. People will be able to watch the content on any computer after they’ve been verified as a Rogers customer; the company says it’s working with white-label video tech provider ThePlatform for the subscriber verification.
Rogers On Demand Online is slated to launch in Canada Nov. 30; subscribers will get access to content from 15 channels the company owns (either in whole or partly), including A&E Canada, Rogers Sportsnet and G4 Canada, as well as shows fed in from Warner TV, and Michael Eisner’s Vuguru (which Rogers took a “multimillion dollar” stake in, in October).
Dave Purdy, Rogers’ VP of video product management, told THR that the company expects to announce more content partners in advance of the launch, as well as over the course of 2010. Rogers plans to offer live event streaming, as well as access through a mobile app and social media sites by the second half of 2010.
None of the services will be available as a stand-alone subscription; Rogers is choosing to keep On Demand Online fully ad-supported. Purdy said there will be a variety of options, including pre-rolls, mid-rolls and sponsored content with “limited interruptions;” Rogers will sell some of the VOD inventory directly, with content providers also able to sell their own spots.