Blog Post

A Big First Month for Canada’s TV Everywhere? Well, Big Is Relative

Rogers Communications issued a press release this morning touting the “success” it’s had in the opening month of its TV Everywhere initiative, talking up the total number of users, page views and streams it’s collected since its On Demand Online Beta launched in late November. With more than 46,000 customers signed up and nearly 2 million page views in December, the program didn’t exactly have a bad start — but then again, it’s probably not as big as Rogers might have hoped.

In the cable company’s press release, David Purdy, VP of video product management, is quoted as saying, “With over 1.8 million Rogers On Demand Online page views in just over one month, Canadians are telling us they are ready to take TV beyond the box and have already made Rogers On Demand Online a great Beta launch success.” But let’s put things into perspective: Rogers has about 2.3 million cable subscribers, which means that only 2 percent of its customers have even tried out the service — so it’s not like its subs are rushing to adopt the service.

So why aren’t more people giving it a whirl? It could be due to lack of premium content. Rogers touted 20 content partners and about 1,000 hours of exclusive content at launch, which has grown to more than 1,500 hours at the time of the press release. But 1,000 hours of content isn’t much in the grand scheme of things — not when Comcast’s (s cmcsa) TV Everywhere service, dubbed Fancast Xfinity TV, launched with more than 12,000 video assets.

And the video that Rogers is offering might not be the most interesting content — even to Canadians. Take, for instance, Structures, “the unique, award-winning architecture and history series showcasing Toronto buildings and heritage that invites viewers to take a fresh look at their surroundings,” or Ride Guide Productions, “a weekly snowboard, freeski and mountain bike television series,” both of which are given as examples of premium video available on the system.

6 Responses to “A Big First Month for Canada’s TV Everywhere? Well, Big Is Relative”

  1. I’m Rob Manne, part of the Communications team that works on Rogers On Demand Online.

    We’re proud of the Rogers On Demand Online service that we’ve built in such a short time. Visitors to the site and our content partners have all given us feedback that they like what they see and want more.

    But as we’ve pointed out since launch, Rogers On Demand Online was launched in Beta. Previewing to Beta testers and web-savvy customers, we’ve been listening to their feedback and using it to upgrade our service and user experience.

    Content is another area our team has been focused on. We’re proud to say we’re already the biggest Canadian aggregator of premium video content. In addition to the diverse content offering you pointed out, we also have great mainstream content: marquee TV shows like The Bachelor, Scrubs and Ugly Betty; movies from Alliance Atlantis and Warner Brothers; music videos featuring Taylor Swift and Lil’ Wayne; plus a lot more. We agree there’s a lot of room to add more content – and we’re on it.

    As is common with Beta sites, the marketing push will take place once there’s more content on board and we’ve further tweaked the user experience. 46,000 registered users has been a great number of people to provide feedback on our Beta.

    The site launch has been even bigger than we’d hoped. And it will be bigger and better over the coming months.

  2. Warren – makes great points, I’d also add the challenge is lack of “choice” of pure Canadian content.

    Ryan – you are wrong to try to compare Comcast to Rogers or US to Canada, the population is much great so that will alway mean there are more producers, channels, and ultimately a user base.

    Isn’t it better for Rogers to try and stick a beta label on the thing than not try at all?

  3. Part of the problem is that Canada is split between cable monopolies in the West and East, Rogers in the East and Shaw in the West. But Rogers is also a nationwide wireless provider. So as someone living on the West Coast (I’m in Vancouver) but still a Rogers wireless customer, I can sign onto the site and watch a VERY limited amount of programming, but I’m region locked IN MY OWN COUNTRY from seeing anything else, including web series (!).

    I attended the Banff TV Festival this year, and the level of digital cluelessness amongst TV executives was truly staggering. One exec even said “We don’t need to worry about the Internet, we’ve got HD!” To be fair, the people from Rogers seemed to “get it”, though RODO makes me think otherwise.