CBC Gem streaming service to launch later this year

CBC Gem
CBC/Radio-Canada president & CEO Catherine Tait in conversation with CBC q host Tom Power at Content Canada.

CBC has unveiled plans to launch streaming service CBC Gem, promising a less commercial, Canadian experience.

Speaking at industry event Content Canada in Toronto, being held in conjunction with TIFF, CBC/Radio-Canada president & CEO Catherine Tait said the new OTT service won’t be trying to compete with Netflix.

“You’re going to subscribe to Gem because you know you’re going to get all the other Canadian experience,” said Tait, in her first major announcement since being appointed president in April. “We’re not interested in broad commercial fare that you might see on an American network.”

The new service will be available before the end of the year on the CBC TV app, which will be rebranded. Subscribers have the option of an ad-supported, free option, or the ad-free version for $4.99 a month.

The service mirrors what Radio-Canada has already done in the French market with its ICI TOU.TV streaming service.

“OTT services are the future,” CBC spokesperson Douglas Chow told Broadcast Dialogue in an e-mailed statement. “We want CBC GEM and ICI TOU.TV to be Canadian destinations—for CBC/Radio-Canada news, sports and original content; for great Canadian content from other partners and; for the best content from international players where it fits our values and mandate.”

Telefilm Canada will sponsor the Canadian feature film section of CBC Gem—allowing Canadians to watch upwards of 150 Canadian films on the service commercial free.
CBC is also partnering with the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) to bring a diverse selection of award-winning film titles to CBC Gem—including a varied selection of Indigenous films.

Children’s programming will have a special place on the platform. 225 hours of kids content will initially be available, with the broadcaster intending to double that over the next year. CBC is also working together with Radio-Canada to offer French-language CBC Kids titles on Gem in the coming weeks.


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