Disney and Apple’s respective streaming services, Disney Plus and Apple TV Plus, have arrived in Canada with a slew of old and original content.
On one hand, this is great news: it means greater variety at low prices, as media giants compete for a slice of the streaming public.
On the other hand, consumers will likely have to pay more to keep watching all their favourite shows.
Disney, for example, has reportedly said it will pull all its movies from Netflix in 2019. Now, if you’re hoping to watch the next season of Netflix’s original series Stranger Things, but your three-year old insists on endless replays of Disney’s Finding Nemo, you’ll have to pay for both streaming services — or make some tough choices.
Wait, There’s More: Are the streaming wars a win for consumers?
To help you decide, here’s an overview of what you get and what you pay with some of the major streaming services in Canada:
Disney Plus — launched Nov. 12
What’s on offer: A subscription grants you access to nearly 500 films and 7,500 episodes of television, with content from Disney, Pixar, Fox, National Geographic, as well as the Star Wars and Marvel franchise. The offering includes 30 seasons of The Simpsons and original offerings such as The Mandalorian, the much-anticipated Star Wars series.
Price: $8.99 a month or $89.99 a year after seven-day promotional offer for four devices at once.
Apple TV Plus — launched Nov. 1
What’s on offer: While the venture counts Oprah Winfrey and Steven Spielberg among its first wave of talent, Apple TV Plus launched at the beginning of the month with just a handful of original programs. That includes The Morning Show, featuring Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, and Steve Carell, and See, starring Jason Momoa.
Price: $5.99 a month after seven-day trial. Apple is offering the service free for a year with a new Apple device or Apple Music Student Plan.
What’s on offer: With its vast rotating offering of Hollywood movies, international fare and network TV hits, Netflix enjoys has the incumbent advantage. It has also become a juggernaut of original content, with blockbuster titles like Stranger Things and Narcos. However, Netflix has lost access to some popular titles as media giants like Disney launch their own streaming services.
Price: $9.99 per month for the basic plan, $13.99 per month for the standard plan, which lets you watch on two screens at the same time; $16.99 per month for the premium plan — for four different devices at a time.
Amazon Prime Video
What’s on offer: In addition to existing movies and shows, original content includes: The Man in the High Castle, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and The Boys. For an additional cost, subscribers can also access Prime Video Channels like Corus Entertainmment’s STACKTV ($12.99 a month), which includes Global, Food Network Canada, HGTV Canada, and Nickelodeon ($5.99 a month).
Price: Free for Amazon Prime members; $7.99 per month after 30-day trial. In Quebec residents receive a two-month membership for $7.99, instead of a free trial. Content can be streamed on up to three devices at once.
Bell Media’s Crave
What’s on offer: Bell Media’s marquee Canadian streaming platform and cable channel, which includes HBO, Showtime, Starz and other brands marketed under several pricing tiers. Crave doesn’t prioritize its originals, mostly leaning on the HBO brand first, but it produces several TV series, including comedy Letterkenny, and documentaries Sharkwater Extinction and Anthropocene: The Human Epoch.
Price: $9.99 a month or $99.90 per year for direct subscriptions. An upgrade to new HBO programs is another $9.99 or Starz for $5.99 per month. Deals through Canadian cable operators may vary.
What’s on offer: YouTube’s premium subscription plan, formerly known as YouTube Red, nets you ad-free access to millions of videos and music. Subscribers are also allowed to stream their videos on the background of their device while it’s locked, and to download videos to watch offline whenever they want. YouTube Premium users can also opt to pay for a different version of the service that lets you access only YouTube Music for a lower price.
Price: All subscriptions come with a free one-month trial, but a regular plan starts at $9.99 a month for just access to YouTube Music, with a family plan allowing you to add up to five family members at a cost of $14.99 a month and a student plan available for $6.99 a month.
YouTube Premium, which includes YouTube Music, starts at $11.99 a month, with a family plan available for $17.99 a month and a student plan for $6.99 a month.
What’s on offer: A free membership to CBC’s Canada-exclusive streaming service includes over 4,000 hours of content, and allows you to stream CBC originals such as Schitt’s Creek, Murdoch Mysteries and Kim’s Convenience on demand as well as all 14 local news channels across the country, but are subject to ads. A paid subscription lets you view all of CBC’s original content ad-free, but also lets you live stream CBC News 24/7.
Price: CBC Gem is available for free but users can upgrade their memberships to premium for a monthly fee of $4.99, after a free one-month trial. Up to five devices are able to access CBC Gem with each account.
— With files from the Canadian Press, David Lao