Maclean's: Bell pitches Astral deal as key to take on Netflix, Apple, Google

(September 11/2012) MONTREAL – Bell will launch a “made-in-Canada” competitor to Netflix and other big U.S. online TV and entertainment providers, CEO George Cope said Monday as part of his pitch for the company’s $3.4-billion acquisition of Astral Media.

The service would be available on demand on any device, and showcase Canadian and international movies from Astral’s pay TV services, such as HBO Canada and The Movie Network, as well as news, sports and entertainment content from Bell Media.

“(It’s) a made-in-Canada service — available in English and French everywhere we have rights — to all Canadians through the cable, satellite or IPTV provider of their choice,” Cope told a CRTC hearing into the acquisition.

More than 10 per cent of Canadians now subscribe to Netflix, which accounts for more than 11 million hours of TV viewing per week, Cope said.

“The Canadian system needs companies with the scale to compete against foreign content companies like Netflix, Apple, Google and Amazon,” he said.

“With scale, Canadian companies can make the investments in Canadian content and technology required to go head-to-head with these well-financed global competitors.”

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