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Bell Media Secures SEINFELD Deal for “Project Latte” as Comedy Slate Revealed

Bell Media announced today a landmark deal with Sony Pictures Television for the Canadian exclusive subscription streaming rights for the seminal sitcom SEINFELD, making its upcoming subscription video on demand product, code-named “Project Latte,” the only streaming service to offer the series to its subscribers. The announcement was made as Bell Media revealed its premium comedy lineup for “Project Latte,” representing additional content deals from BBC Worldwide, CBS Studios International, Viacom (Comedy Central), Eagle Rock Entertainment, HBO, Lionsgate, and Warner Bros. International Television.

From sitcoms to Britcoms and stand-up in between, “Project Latte” is home to more than 225 hit comedy titles representing more than 2,500 episodes. In total, premium comedy programming will comprise nearly 25% of the entire “Project Latte” catalogue which, it was confirmed today, will also feature the expansive Comedy Central vault of past-season and library hits.

Comedy on “Project Latte”:

SEINFELD
Bell Media has secured the exclusive subscription streaming rights for every single episode of the TV sitcom that defined a generation, SEINFELD. Named by TV Guide as the greatest television program of all time, SEINFELD ran for nine seasons from 1989 until 1998, when nearly 80 million people watched its series’ finale. All 180 episodes will be available exclusively in Canada on “Project Latte.” SEINFELD is a Shapiro/West production in association with Castle Rock Entertainment. SEINFELD is distributed by Sony Pictures Television.

Classic Sitcoms
Curated exclusively for “Project Latte” are some of the most beloved sitcoms of all time, including the entire 275-episode catalogue of CHEERS, nominated for 117 Emmy Awards® over its 11-season run. Canada’s premium comedy destination will also exclusively feature all 264 episodes of CHEERS spin-off FRASIER, one of the most-successful spin-off series and critically acclaimed comedies of all time. Additionally, “Project Latte” exclusively delivers every single episode of EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND and the most-watched Canadian comedy series of all time, CORNER GAS, along with the soon-to-be-released CORNER GAS: THE MOVIE.

Current Comedies
It’s the biggest show currently on TV and it’s only on “Project Latte.” Canadians can go back to the beginning to rekindle their love affair with THE BIG BANG THEORY, while “Project Latte” will also exclusively feature past seasons of additional current comedies including THE GOLDBERGS, THE MILLERS, SPUN OUT, and ultimately the complete 100-episode catalogue of Charlie Sheen’s ANGER MANAGEMENT.

The Best of Comedy Central
Comedy Central’s vast and diverse comedy catalogue exclusively comes alive on “Project Latte,” including both past-season and library content. Featured are past-season episodes of Comedy Central hits KEY & PEELE, BROAD CITY, TOSH.0, KROLL SHOW, INSIDE AMY SCHUMER, NATHAN FOR YOU, UGLY AMERICANS, and DRUNK HISTORY. From the Comedy Central library comes every season of RENO 911, THE SARAH SILVERMAN PROGRAM, CRANK YANKERS, WORKAHOLICS, and STRANGERS WITH CANDY. Additionally available exclusively on demand is the collection of infamous COMEDY CENTRAL ROASTS - skewering the likes of Charlie Sheen, David Hasselhoff, Donald Trump, James Franco, Joan Rivers, William Shatner, Bob Saget, and more.

Acclaimed HBO Comedy
“Project Latte” is the Canadian home of the entire off-air library of HBO’s iconic programming catalogue, including its award-winning collection of brilliant comedies. In addition to all eight seasons of beloved cult favourite CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM, also featured are HBO titles ENTOURAGE, SEX AND THE CITY, THE LARRY SANDERS SHOW, ANGRY BOYS, BORED TO DEATH, FLIGHT OF THE CONCHORDS, LITTLE BRITAIN USA, and MR. SHOW.

The Monty Python Collection
“Project Latte” is the exclusive home to the revolutionary Monty Python library. In addition to every single episode of MONTY PYTHON’S FLYING CIRCUS, the service also exclusively presents a collection of Monty Python documentaries, specials, and more, including the brand new Monty Python Live (mostly) - One Down Five To Go documentary from this summer’s reunion at London’s O2 Arena.

Britcoms
“Project Latte” is also home to Basil Fawlty and every episode of the BBC’s FAWLTY TOWERS, named by the British Film Institute as the “best British television series of all time.” “Project Latte” also features all five seasons of the BBC’s ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS, as well as seven additional AB FAB specials, including the three “20th anniversary” specials (2011-2012).

Pop Culture Hits
Named by 60 MINUTES and Vanity Fair as one of the Top 10 sitcoms of all time it’s the only television program to receive 22 Emmy Award nominations in a single year, and it’s coming to “Project Latte” – fan-favourite and critical darling 30 ROCK. The service is also home to fellow pop culture hits COMMUNITY and WEEDS.

The World’s Best Stand-Up Comedians
The service will also offer more than 150 hours of stand-up comedy, featuring titles from both Comedy Central and HBO, including some of the biggest names in comedy today and yesterday. Among the featured comedians are Zack Galifianakis, Louis C.K., Lewis Black, Patton Oswalt, John Oliver, George Carlin, Robin Williams, Chris Rock, Wanda Sykes, Shawn Majumder, Chelsea Handler, Kevin Hart, Ellen DeGeneres, Bill Maher, Harland Williams, Dennis Miller, Sarah Silverman, Margaret Cho, and more.

Full Press Release.
 

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Sounds like they're a bit "latte" to the streaming game.
Definitely not, especially in Canada. Google and Amazon are fairly recent entrants to the streaming market. One could argue that they are late to "the streaming game", especially in the US. Streaming services succeed or fail on differentiation and content. The right service with the right content could easily dominate the existing Canadian marketplace. Bell's acquisition of HBO content for Latte is a major step in that direction.
 

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If I was cynical about this industry ;) , I might think that these "exclusive" deals are nothing more than a way to delay wide-spread adoption of all video streaming services in general. The benefits to the consumer are lost when they have to subscribe to 4 or 5 services to get the product they want. There should be an anti-competitive rule against this.
 

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So far we have only one service in Canada "Shomi" that is still in beta mode, not 5 or 6. Also CRTC has nothing to do with the services that originate in the states.
 

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Discussion Starter #26
If I was cynical about this industry ;) , I might think that these "exclusive" deals are nothing more than a way to delay wide-spread adoption of all video streaming services in general. The benefits to the consumer are lost when they have to subscribe to 4 or 5 services to get the product they want. There should be an anti-competitive rule against this.
"all video streaming services in general" have exclusive deals, including the American ones that aren't associated with a traditional TV service provider. Here's my post in the shomi thread:
From the point of view of Amazon or Netflix or Bell or shomi, it's just good business to provide something that no one else can. That's why they all pay more for an exclusive deal.
 

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Dr. Dave:
"From the point of view of Amazon or Netflix or Bell or shomi, it's just good business.. "

Yes, that is the point. Instead of these few large media distribution companies competing on service, it is a race to buy up and restrict then content. Those businesses with the deepest pockets win, making the content more expensive for consumers. Good for business profits, not so good for consumers.
 

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I agree with Dr. Dave on this point. If you want these services, you have to understand that the only way you are going to get them is if someone has a chance to profit. No one is going to set these up just for you because they like the colour of your eyes.

It seems many forget that innovation is brought about by the opportunity to make a profit.

Too many people seem to feel that only the big can get bigger. Yes, in the regulated regime under the thumb of the CRTC, that is likely true. However, in the free market, the big get slow and unimaginative and eventually succumb to the newer and faster. Think IBM vs. Microsoft (younger people may have to ask an old guy like me or do some research :) )

We are in the infancy of consumer mainstream video streaming. It will be a while before we determine who will dominate. The only way to ensure that the existing providers are the ones who dominate is to ask the government to get involved and start regulating things.
 

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Exclusive content deals are nothing new in this day and age. I am sure there are more than a few PS4'ers that wish Halo was on that platform. This stuff is no different. Exclusive content deals help to entice customers. Competition is a good thing. Since when is Amazon streaming in this country?
 

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We are not talking about upstarts battling giants here. Amazon, Netflix, Rogers, Shaw and Bell are all very large, very well established companies that are spending big money to gain and retain market share. Exclusive content deals are bad for consumers. They are being used by gigantic corporations to guarantee that they all get paid the maximum amount possible and to prevent competition from more competitive upstarts (like Netflix.) They simply don't want consumers to have a choice. The driving force behind this is large studio interests that want to control the entire entertainment business and eliminate all forms of competition.

Unlike B&M stores, where consumers had a choice of where to rent DVDs, there is simply no choice of where to obtain exclusive streamed content. It's like going back 50 years, when there was only one store to buy a particular brand or product and you had to pay their price and agree to their terms. Sure, there was another store down the street but they had their own products at similarly inflated prices and similarly restrictive terms.

Think IBM vs. Microsoft (younger people may have to ask an old guy like me or do some research )
By the time MS and IBM became competitors, they were both very large businesses. MS actually took down IBM be partnering with them and doing a better job of marketing. A more fitting analogy would be IBM vs DEC. It was the upstart mini-computer maker DEC that took over dominant market share from IBM. What we are seeing in the video streaming market these days is not so much upstarts trying to compete but large, well established companies fighting over a piece of the new video streaming industry that was created by Netflix. The analogy there would be the likes of Comcast or Rogers cable vs Netflix.
 

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ExDilbert when you have the likes of Shomi, Latte, Netflix all bidding to put shows on their platforms not competition? If anything these two new services have now given consumers more options not less. Large studios are not creating these services, BDUs in Canada are innovating as a result of the Netflix competition.

P.S. Currently watching Defiance Syfy original only available on Shomi in Canada! ;) Pretty awesome for this consumer! ;)
 

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I agree there are many choices for the consumer now which is great.

Many people who do not have regular TV can easily have now two services for under $20
 

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Exclusive content may be a way to attract customers that "must" have that particular content, but trying to have the most content (regardless of whether it can be found elsewhere or not) would also attract customers. A similar choice is available to content producers - try for the big money exclusive deal, or try to make your product as widely available as possible so you get a royalty from every streaming service, not just one.

It is certainly unfortunate for the consumer that most producers and distributors are going the exclusive route rather than the get it licensed everywhere / license everything route. I think it is also bad for the distributors who may get shoehorned into niche markets, and for producers who will have smaller potential audiences for their shows.
 

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I do not think that I am unfortunate because I can get all current HBO series with my TV subscription at no additional cost and I love it.
 

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Titanium48, you are right, a supplier could go with the quantity method, rather than aiming for exclusive content. The problem with that is that when that happens with more than one supplier, their product will end up being a commodity, with very few differences between competitors. Then the only thing left to compete on is price.

While that may appear to be good for the consumer, I think it tends to reduce development and eventually we end up with what we have now in the ISP market -- no real difference between providers and they all know that. So eventually they start raising prices in unison. Same for the retail gasoline market in Canada. the companies don't do a good job of differentiating their product from their competitor's product so we go wherever the price is better and the result is that the price is the same.

Exclusive contracts allow the providers to differentiate themselves and, hopefully, target specific markets (serving those better) and continue development.

Finally, in a free market system (which I hope the OTT market will continue to be), if a content supplier and a content distributor want to enter into an exclusive contract, they should have every right to do so. The market will, in the end, decide if it a good thing or a bad thing for them to do. The government should not be stepping in to decide. Let's remember that this is not a life sustaining substance we are talking about, it is just entertainment.
 

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ExDilbert when you have the likes of Shomi, Latte, Netflix all bidding to put shows on their platforms not competition? If anything these two new services have now given consumers more options not less. Large studios are not creating these services, BDUs in Canada are innovating as a result of the Netflix competition.

P.S. Currently watching Defiance Syfy original only available on Shomi in Canada! ;) Pretty awesome for this consumer! ;)
If it's exclusively in one place, that's not choice.

What we have is an illusion of choice, where A is only from X, B is only from Y, and C is only from Z. The "choice" is only in if you want to watch A or not.

This is the same flawed idea that led people to think that having 500 channel was "good for consumers." You call the wasteland that is most TV channels these days good? I sure don't. It's 25 channels worth of content spread out across ten times more channels, so most of them are just reruns or the cheapest junk they can possibly find, with the goal of being bundled with a more popular channel.

Yep, what an awesome "choice"!

Exclusives are always bad for consumers. The Halo example is the same, that was Microsoft spending massive amounts of money from their Windows/Office divisions to buy the rights to try and sell Xboxes. That wasn't good for anybody except Microsoft. You might note how Bungie is now free of that deal and not making exclusives anymore?

(In fact, nothing in the console world is exclusive anymore unless the developer or publisher is paid to make it that way, because it doesn't make sense to limit yourself to one platform in an era without an overwhelmingly dominant one and where cross platform development is easier than ever.)
 

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Discussion Starter #39
MANHATTAN, DEADBEAT and BOSCH to Launch as First “Exclusives” for Project Latte

Bell Media announced today that it has secured MANHATTAN in its first Canadian window from Lionsgate for its new subscription on-demand video streaming service, code-named “Project Latte”. A tent-pole series immediately available at launch, MANHATTAN becomes the first “Project Latte Exclusive” – TV series that will only be available to “Project Latte” subscribers.

The acclaimed drama will be joined in subsequent months by the comedy series DEADBEAT, also from Lionsgate; the crime thriller BOSCH, from Red Arrow International; and additional series, as “Project Latte Exclusives.” Canada’s premium TV streaming service, “Project Latte” will launch later this year.

Full Press Release.
 
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