Online & Digital Media News – Amazon Prime Video expands film offering in Canada with Sony deal

Amazon Prime Video has expanded its feature film offerings in Canada after closing a significant multi-year deal with Sony Pictures Entertainment for exclusive first window streaming rights to the studio’s recently released and upcoming theatrical movies. Following initial releases like Tom Hanks’ A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood; Jumanji: The Next Level; The Grudge; Bad Boys For Life; and Zombieland: Double Tap, Prime members will be able to enjoy free streaming access to Sony Pictures Entertainment films for just under two years. Titles are also available to rent or buy. Thanks to quarantine measures, Amazon Prime has been gaining on Netflix’s dominant lead in the streaming landscape. While Amazon doesn’t disclose information on how many subscribers it has in Canada, Kantar’s most recent Entertainment On Demand report found that Prime Video subscriptions accounted for 23% of SVOD subscriptions in Q2, up from 14% the previous quarter. It’s estimated Prime now has over 150 million subscribers worldwide. Netflix added 10 million subscribers in Q2 and now boasts more than 190 million global subscriptions. Read more here.

Encore+, the YouTube channel showcasing iconic Canadian content from seasons past, has reached the 100K subscriber milestone with 25 million views. Launched in Nov. 2017 in partnership with YouTube Canada and Canadian film and television producers, distributors, broadcasters, unions, guilds and industry associations, Encore+ features over 2,000 Canadian feature films, documentaries and television shows in English and French, including Mr. Dressup, teen drama Ready or Not, and episodes of Due South, Degrassi Junior High, Wayne & Shuster, and more.  

CBC Gem’s September lineup includes the debut of short doc, Pandemic Elementary. The first CBC Creative Relief Fund project to be launched, it follows a B.C. family trying out a radical version of homeschooling in the midst of the pandemic. Feature documentary Wheeler’s Everest begins streaming Sept. 4, a journey with Jeff Wheeler, great-grandson of famous Canadian climber Oliver Wheeler, highlighting the man behind the discovery of the ‘doorway’ to Everest in 1921. Radio-Canada Original series, C’est Comme Ca Que Je T’aime (Happily Married) also makes its English-language world premiere, with weekly episodes available to stream, starting Sept. 16. Canadian feature films Room, Indian Horse, and Murmur round out new September releases to the platform.

The Canadian Association of Community Television Users and Stations (CACTUS) and the Fédération des télévisions communautaires autonomes du Québec has launched an online Community Media Portal featuring content produced by community TV stations from across the country. The site features programming in six languages, including Cree and Dene, and is searchable by topics like education, health, politics, and human rights, as well as region.