Netflix is a VOD killer and a subscription service with exclusive content that no Canadian TV station can broadcast (even if it wanted to). I don't think of Netflix as a TV station because I can't get it without using the Internet. I am currently watching TMN and TMN On Demand through Rogers Cable TV, without needing the Internet to do so. Netflix is offering a different service and most Canadian companies will never be willing to compete with Netflix at such a low price point of $8 (without the need to subscribe to a TV service as well).
Netflix uses the Internet to sidestep the CRTC and its cronies. Now, it's up to the CRTC to figure out a way to keep Netflix in line, even though it's only an online subscription service with some exclusive content. The longer the CRTC waits, the stronger Netflix can become.
If Netflix can reach the 5 million Canadian subscribers mark, it then might be too late for the CRTC to stop Netflix from having enough power to lockup even more exclusive content. First you get the subscribers, then you get the money, then you get the power to steal all the hot mistresses and girlfriends away from the Canadian CEOs.
As for Blockbuster Canada (and even Rogers Plus), you will notice if you check its store shelves, that it carries many DVDs and Blu-rays from America (USA UPCs), rather than the Canadian versions that other Canadian stores carry. It doesn't happen that often, but still often enough to realize that it must have better options than some of its Canadian competitors (like Zip.ca). Zip and other Canadian companies are often encouraged to buy from Canadian suppliers, whereas Blockbuster Canada seems to avoid this restrictive practice quite often.
Blockbuster USA (and perhaps even Blockbuster Canada to some extent) has had exclusive content deals with The Weinstein Company as far back as 2006 for titles that the Rogers Video stores failed to carry, but that was because the extra cost to get those "exclusive" titles wasn't worth it for Rogers, based on the low potential for actual rentals. There were several Blockbuster USA, DVD titles that Blockbuster Canada carried that the Rogers Video stores didn't. Should the CRTC have tried to regulate Blockbuster Canada because of a possible unfair advantage for lower prices? Of course not! However, had Blockbuster USA taken over Blockbuster Canada, and become truly American, I wouldn't put it past Rogers to complain to somebody about the injustice of the whole thing ... until Rogers started to get even better exclusives of its own.
[Whining about Weinstein]
[First-sale doctrine and what the Blockbuster USA/Weinstein Company exclusives really mean]
Paramount is just one of the companies that I recall experimented with having specially selected DVD titles (generally box office bombs) available for Rental only, for about 4 to 6 weeks BEFORE having them available for Sale in both Canada and the US (usually with added Special Features). I haven't noticed any recent DVD titles that became available for rent before a Retail version was made available with Special Features, but since I don't follow that kind of stuff as closely as I used to, I suppose there might have been a few recent ones that I didn't notice.
So long as The Weinstein Co. sells these DVDs to the public, Netflix can buy them and rent them out, as indeed it does. Blockbuster’s exclusivity then is mainly about prices and advertising. In agreeing to in-store promotions of the Weinstein movies and guaranteed payments, Blockbuster is ensuring presumably better pricing for the DVDs than Netflix will be able to get in the retail sales market. (Query: does Netflix buy these in bulk from Wal-Mart or Costco?) The Weinstein Co. of course could abandon the sales market and thereby give Blockbuster genuine exclusivity, but Blockbuster isn’t willing to pay for that. Instead, given the sales channel, the exclusive deal with Blockbuster gets Weinstein Co. superior in-store advertising, while raising Netflix’s costs of competing.
Plus there is a hint that the exclusivity is slightly more complicated. The Blockbuster website suggests that the Blockbuster versions of these films comes with special bonus content. The Renée Zellweger vehicle Miss Potter comes with “a fascinating first-person account of Renée’s experience from pre-production through completion of filming” taken from “rare footage from the set.”
Many studios still offer certain DVD and Blu-ray titles that are available for Rent that don't include the Special Features that the Retail versions have (like "No Strings Attached"), as a way to perhaps encourage more sales (for both the cheaper rental versions and the more robust Retail versions).
[Paramount dances around the DVD Rental/Retail window]
[Dance, Dance Revolution of the DVD rentals]
Since any Canadian with a decent Internet connection can subscribe to Netflix for only $8, it's up to the CRTC to make sure that Netflix doesn't become more popular than the offerings through the Canadian companies. Killing the US competition is job #1 at the CRTC ... something about preserving our imaginary culture is the excuse that is often used.