Viewers hoping to catch the latest HBO series and fresh Hollywood movies have a new choice in their streaming options.
Bell Media says it’s throwing open the gates to its vast library of content that was previously only available to cable subscribers of The Movie Network and HBO Canada.
Starting next week, Canadians will have access to a bulked up version of the Crave streaming platform, dubbed Crave+, for an additional fee of about $10 per month.
It’s a significant change for cable subscribers who were hanging onto their TV packages for access to TMN and its sister channels.
Under the new Crave+ they will have the option to join other cord-cutters, though some cable providers may sell the Crave package at a discount with other set-top TV offerings.
The move comes as Bell Media contends with competition from Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.
“Every day you read about a new offering that’s in the marketplace,” said Bell Media chief executive Randy Lennox in an interview, highlighting how Crave is now considered both a TV and online option.
“We’re trying to be on both sides of the highway.”
The new Crave+ package includes all of Showtime and older HBO series previously on CraveTV, plus a roster of more recent shows like new seasons of “Game of Thrones” and “Westworld.”
Customers who don’t want the extra stuff can hang onto a basic Crave package, which includes series from Vice, Showtime and Crave exclusives like “Letterkenny” and “Star Trek: Discovery.”
Bell Media is in the midst of widespread changes to its TV channels which include a decision to retire its brand The Movie Network and replace it with channels under the Crave name.