The same day Blockbuster announced it would be closing all its Canadian stores, YouTube stepped up to the plate by bringing its movie-streaming service north of the border.
“The timing is sheer coincidence. We wanted to wait until we had deals closed with our Canadian partners … and we also wanted to make sure we had a strong stable of (Canadian content) and Hollywood blockbusters before we made the service available to Canadians,” said YouTube spokesman Aaron Brindle.
Movies range from $3.99 to $4.99, and customers have a 30-day window to stream a film once they rent it. However, once you begin watching the film, you have 48 hours to finish it.
The service, which launched in the U.S. in May, already offers a selection of films new and old, including Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, Your Highness and The Adjustment Bureau.
It also has Canadian movies that are exclusively available north of the border, including horror exploitation film Hobo With a Shotgun.
Blockbuster Canada announced Wednesday it will be shutting down all operations in Canada. Grant Thornton Ltd. said it’s seeking an order from the Ontario Superior Court of Justice to close the company’s remaining 253 stores and wind down operations after no suitable buyer could be found,
“We appreciate the ongoing support and wish to thank Blockbuster Canada Co.’s employees, customers, suppliers and other stakeholders during this difficult period,” said Grant Thornton’s Michael Creber.
YouTube’s new service will offer up some competition for Netflix Canada’s streaming movie and TV service. According to think-tank Media Technology Monitor, 6% of Canadians have subscribed to the online service since its launch in September 2010.
Netflix Canada is the cheaper option, with its entire collection available indefinitely for $7.99 a month, though the service rarely offers new releases and doesn’t have nearly as vast a library as its U.S. version.
“In terms of numbers compared to the U.S. site, I’m not in a position to comment,” Brindle said. “What I can say is that YouTube.ca/movies offers well over a thousand titles, and we’re constantly adding more to our library”.
Text by Sheena Goodyear, QMI Agency