Sundance Now on Wednesday made it official: The U.S.-based streaming service of documentaries, movies and nostalgia TV has expanded operations into Canada.
This is Sundance Now’s first move outside of the U.S. after launching in 2014. The digital platform, costing $6.99 a month in Canada after a free preview, becomes the latest American player after Netflix, Amazon, AMC’s Shudder and Fandor to use Canada as a stepping stone to the world market.
George Schmalz, Sundance Now’s curator, said there are “discussions” on additional moves into international markets, without specifying where or when. “We’re still in the United States, and paying special attention to Canada now. It will be a targeted launch into whatever territory we’re going into,” he tells The Hollywood Reporter.
Sundance Now and rival U.S. streamers already in the Canadian market are aiming to fill gaps in Netflix’s local Canadian offering, rather than replace the video streaming giant that launched there in late 2010. “We’re another channel, another option. Our focus is on the documentary and art house movies. With that in mind, we offer something a little bit different than those other services,” Schmalz says.
Netflix Canada, which currently has over 5 million subscribers, has also taken a big chunk of business from Canadian TV networks and local streaming services. Faced with fast-expanding U.S. digital competition, also including Apple iTunes, cable giant Rogers Communications in late 2016 closed down Shomi, a local subscription VOD service, while rival Bell Media continues to operate another local streamer, CraveTV.
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SOURCE: The Hollywood Reporter, Etan Vlessing