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Shomi the movies: New Canadian service looks to challenge Netflix in the Great White North

Two major Canadian cable broadcasters have unveiled a new collaborative project, an over-the-top streaming service dubbed Shomi, that aims to confront Netflix’s swelling dominance in the country. The service, spearheaded by major service providers Rogers and Shaw, will become available in beta form to the two broadcasters’ TV and Internet subscribers starting the first week of November.

Related: Netflix Canada pens deal for exclusive first-run streaming rights to new Disney movies

Shomi customers will end up paying the same $9-per-month subscription fee that Netflix now charges for its OTT streaming service, though it seems unlikely the Canadian service will be able to compete with Netflix in terms of sheer content, at least initially. As far as the type of content offered, Shomi will host prior seasons of popular TV shows, “iconic series from the past,” cult classics, “fan-favorite films,” and a variety of family-friendly kids programs.

Perhaps the strongest weapon in Shomi’s arsenal is its exclusive past-season streaming rights to popular TV shows such as Modern Family, Sons of AnarchyShameless, and The Strain. The Rogers/Shaw streamer also has rights to first-window premieres, titles that will show up on Shomi first, though today’s official release doesn’t list any specific titles or dates. In all, the service will focus heavily on TV, with around 14,000 episodes and titles, though it will pair that with around 12,000 movies as well.

The service appears to be particularly specialized to be a Netflix challenger, delivering various elements that Netflix doesn’t, including movie trailers, and “factoids” to add to its content options. Other planned features include Collections which, like Netflix, offer bundles of movies and shows that fall under a specific theme. The bundles will be pulled together by Shomi’s “expert curators,” which include directors, screenwriters, and festival programmers. Canucks might also be swayed by the claim that 30 percent of Shomi’s content, both TV and film, is Canadian.

Shomi will be available online as well as via select iOS and Android tablets and smartphones, select Rogers and Shaw cable boxes, and Xbox 360, with additional viewing options in the works.

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