bc q&a

Shomi the Money: 5 Questions for SVOD Content Wrangler Marni Shulman

Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 28, 2014 11:14 AM

shomi, the Canadian streaming video-on-demand service that launched this month, aims to slow growth of Netflix Canada with binge-worthy hits such as House of Cards and Orange Is the New Black

To do so, shomi is programming and leveraging U.S. content like those hit shows—and other titles including The Blacklist, 2 Broke Girls, Two and a Half Men, DaVinci's Demons, American Horror Story, Sons of Anarchy, Wilfred, Modern Family and Sleepy Hollow—to attract and build a loyal audience.

The subscription video on demand (SVOD) brand's backers—Canadian cable giants Shaw Media and Rogers Media—are dipping into a $100 million war chest to license in-demand titles from Disney/ABC, CBS, Warner Bros., 20th Century Fox, Starz Digital Media and BBC Worldwide.pmore]

The service, launching with 14,000 episodes and titles and more than 1,000 movies, is available to Rogers and Shaw cable and broadband customers, free of data fees. Priced at $8.99/month (with a free 30-day trial), it promises to deliver U.S. shows to Canadian subscribers sooner than Netflix.

Launch marketing include a heavy social push (hashtag: #readysetshomi), an upcoming Xbox 360 app and a landmark test of Twitter cards in Canada. And content. Tons of great content.

As for how it's differentiating its brand, Carolyn Ray, Managing Director of Interbrand Canada, commented that “shomi's story is partly about brands collaborating to put the customer first, knowing that the average Canadian owns over four digital devices each.”

brandchannel spoke with Marni Shulman, Head of Content and Programming for shomi, about the importance of foreign content to a Canadian digital broadband brand—and any plans for original programming to celebrate its homeland. 

brandchannel: What is shomi's biggest bet against Netflix in Canada?

Marni Shulman: I don’t think it’s any one title, but rather the strength and diversity of shomi’s overall content offering. We have exclusive titles that are some of the most popular and talked about cable and network hits, like Sons of Anarchy, Scandal, Jane the Virgin and Vikings, that you won’t find on Netflix. That, coupled with our human-curated recommendations and collections, is what we are betting on.  

bc: Is binge-viewing now a factor in how you buy and schedule your content? 

Shulman: It absolutely is. We are always looking for multi-season, binge-worthy series—which to us is not simply the long-running series. It’s about compelling characters and immersive stories that you just can’t get enough of. You need to know what’s going to happen and you need to know that now, not next week. Plus, you can’t discount the added benefit of the convenience and control that binge-viewing allows.

bc: When do you expect your movie offerings to amp up—and what is your ideal blend of movie versus TV titles? 

Shulman: We’ve struck the optimal balance between TV and movie content based on what our viewers want to see. I think we have a great foundation of movie content—these are some of the best movies ever made. And with our curated collections, viewers can rediscover amazing stories and fall in love with them all over again.

Having said that, we are always adding new content to shomi and will continue to look for ways to expand and enhance our overall content catalogue to make sure our users can always find something great to watch.

bc: Any plans for original programming yet, or further down the road? 

Shulman: This is something that we are definitely exploring. It’s on our roadmap, but in the meantime, we will be making some very exciting announcements in the coming weeks about content that is exclusive to shomi—content you cannot get anywhere else in Canada.

We are proud to be a Canadian service and as such, definitely have a desire to support homegrown Canadian talent and the great stories they have to tell.

bc: How do you see the landscape for streaming services like shomi and competitors playing out in the next the five years?

Shulman: We can already see a proliferation of streaming services in the U.S. with Netflix, Hulu and Amazon, as well as studios like CBS, Sony, and HBO developing their own SVOD (offerings). Watching trends out of the U.S., we know consumers subscribe to more than one service. But I don’t think there will be room in Canada for too many more larger services like shomi or Netflix.

Much like the introduction and growth of specialty broadcast channels, I think in addition to the larger, general interest services, we will likely start to see smaller, niche services develop as well. You could imagine a world where multicultural and other genre-specific SVODs pop up.

• Follow us: @brandchannel on Twitter and brandchannel on Facebook. Connect with Sheila on Twitter: @srshayon

brand news

Brand News: Black Friday Goes Global and more

Posted by Dale Buss on November 28, 2014 09:43 AM


Walmart is in the spotlight, and on the hot seat, as mega-retailer talks up its U.S. Thanksgiving Day sales, U.S. workers strike and Ferguson protests morph into Black Friday boycott that also hits Target.

Apple and Beats also release Black Friday ads (including #SoloSelfie spot with Kendall and Kylie Jenner) as shoppers worldwide hunt (and fight) for Black Friday deals. 

Amazon is reportedly in talks to buy India's Jabong fashion portal for $1.2 billion.

Takata air bag crisis addressed by Japanese government.

Philosophy launches PSA promoting mental illness awareness.Continue reading...


Digital Pop-Ups Bring Black Friday Shopping Into the Subway

Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 27, 2014 05:02 PM

As Black Friday continues going global, the quest to make shoppers embrace online/offline omnichannel shopping this holiday is moving underground.

British retailer Argos, the UK's biggest High Street retailer online, has opened its first Underground store at London's Cannon Street Tube station as a click-and-collect depot during the holiday season in partnership with Transport for London (TfL).

The underground Argos Collect store offers access to 20,000 products, pitching convenience to time-pressed commuters, who make an average of 4.2 million journeys on the London Underground every day, with the enticing prospect that all products ordered by 1pm can be picked up on the go within hours.Continue reading...


Explore Together: Durex Tests Bi-Media Ad for Mobile/TV Synchronized Viewing

Posted by Shirley Brady on November 27, 2014 03:45 PM

Last month Honda tested an interactive dual-narrative ad campaign to promote its "Type R" model at Halloween, inviting viewers to toggle between two versions of the same narrative with the click of a button.

Now Durex is ready to launch what it's calling the world’s first synchronized dual-screen ad, where users in the UK can experience another side to a TV commercial story by pointing the Durex Explore mobile app at the screen.

According to The Drum, the aim of the "Explore Together" campaign is to capture what the characters get up to in private, and direct viewers to the just-relaunched Durex website. Continue reading...

bc q&a

Raising the Bar: 5 Questions with thinkThin Founder Lizanne Falsetto

Posted by Dale Buss on November 27, 2014 02:37 PM

Food brands in crowded categories can try to stand out in a number of different ways: Be the best. Be the least expensive. Be the tastiest. Be the healthiest. Be first.

In the case of nutrition bar brand thinkThin, CEO Lizanne Falsetto has used a number of these varying approaches, but mostly she has relied on being first. 

When she founded her company more than 20 years ago, she was among the pioneers in gluten-free products and in protein positioning.

This year, thinkThin became one of the first independent brands in the category to launch a full-blown national TV advertising campaign.

brandchannel talked with Falsetto about the campaign's results, what got thinkThin where it is—and where she goes from here.Continue reading...

campaign tactics

PETA Hits Macy's Thanksgiving Parade as Part of Cruelty-Free Holiday Push

Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 27, 2014 01:33 PM

Making good on its promise to protest SeaWorld's involvment in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, the animal rights group brought signs to the parade route in New York in the wake of Macy's decision to include the amusement park's float, despite PETA's claims of mistreatment of animals there.

While Macy's ignored PETA's pre-parade protest (with women in a bathtub painted to resemble orcas) and the organization's parade protest was sidelined by the arrests of Ferguson protesters, the campaign was just one part of a slate of holiday campaigns by the tireless animal rights activists:Continue reading...

brand mascots

Meet Your Rio 2016 Olympics Mascots

Posted by Abe Sauer on November 27, 2014 12:02 PM

Step aside, World Cup Willie!

With the FIFA World Cup now behind Brazil, the Rio de Janeiro organizing committee has unveiled the mascot(s) for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

The smiling yellow feline-like critter on the left—representing Brazilian fauna—will represent the main games.

The cheeky blue chap with leafy shrubbery for hair—meant to evoke Brazil's lush flora—will represent the Paralympic Games.

The mascots' names will be selected by a poll from the following name pairs (Olympics/Paralympics): Vinicius/Tom; Oba/Eba (our vote); or Tiba Tuque/Esquindim.

So how do Rio's rate in the rich pantheon of Olympics mascots over the years?Continue reading...

celebrity brandcasting

KISS the Brand: Rockers Make Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Debut

Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 27, 2014 09:57 AM

KISS frontman Gene Simmons has never exactly shied away from self-promotion. The band has been around for 40 years, and Simmons is still stomping around and spreading his gospel as far and wide as he can.

This year, that reach has finally extended to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, marking the Rock and Roll Hall of Famers’ first appearance in the annual celebration.

The band, which has sold more than 100 million albums worldwide, is making its parade debut with 600 cheerleaders from across America who will perform a KISS medley (no doubt to glares from fellow parade newbie, GoldieBlox). 

The performance is just one aspect of the band’s year-long 40th anniversary celebration that's taken a multi-platform approach.Continue reading...

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