Saturday, June 11, 2011

Why Canadians Won't Be Able To Go Diamond on Xbox Live

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One of the main highlights at the recent 2011 E3 trade show was the announcement by Microsoft to turn Xbox live into a subscription television service that would compete against cable and satellite TV companies.  The new service dubbed as Xbox Live Diamond by video game gossip web sites will feature dozens of channels of streaming video content which includes many shows that appear on broadcast networks, cable channels and premium channels was well as shows made for the service. 

For in Canada hoping to subscribe to the service as an alternative to existing cable or satellite TV will be sitting there hoping for a very long time.  As many know online video services get held up at the border for years at a time as companies that hold Canadian broadcast and Internet streaming rights refuse to reliquinish those rights to sites as Hulu, and as a result some of those sites have never launched in Canada and don't plan to ether.  One exeception is Netflix which is available in Canada but with a line up that is far more limited than the Netflix offering in the United States. 

Even for a deep pocketed company such as Microsoft, launching any online video service north of the 49th parallel will be a nearly impossible task, given recent history with Canadian rights holders in the past.  When Microsoft launched the Zune music player in Canada in 2008 it was without access to the Zune Marketplace online music store.  Canada's music industry wouldn't make a deal with Microsoft to sell music downloads to Canadians.  When Microsoft added subscription service with Zune Pass, Canada's music industry still didn't budge and Canadians were left without all you can eat music downloads for one monthly price.

Since most of Canada's media is owned by cable and telephone companies that are the companies that most Canadians buy Internet service from.  Since online video has the potential poach cable and satellite TV viewership, Bell, Rogers, Telus, and Shaw are doing everything they can to protect cable and satellite TV business.  Since Bell, Rogers and Shaw are the Canadian rights holders to most video programming from the United States, they are highly unlikely to resell Internet streaming rights to Microsoft no matter how much money big M brings to the table.  For Canadian gamers Xbox live will continue to be just for online gaming and won't be the reason to kiss their traditional cable or satellite TV provider good bye.

1 comment:

cable companies in my area said...

Sad day and Canadians shouldn't stand for it. The only way to send a message is for the customers as a whole to cancel their service. That will be nearly impossible to do though.