Bell is joining the online video streaming sweepstakes this week with the launch of Crave TV, but be warned: it’s for serious television lovers only. Or so we’re told.
At $4 a month for access to HBO’s back catalog plus a bunch of other stuff like Seinfeld, Crave TV is a good deal. But so far it’s available only to existing television customers of Bell, Telus or Eastlink.
“The 10 per cent [of Canadians] that aren’t TV subscribers, in a general sense, they’re not TV lovers,” said Bell Media president Kevin Crull last week.
Some observers found that statement a little offputting:
Crull’s comments that those without a TV subscription “aren’t TV lovers” shows he doesn’t get it. There are other ways to get TV now.
— Brian Jackson (@brianjjackson) December 3, 2014
“The 10% that aren’t TV subscribers … they’re not TV lovers.”—Bell Media Wrong. I love TV. I just don’t love the TV bundle you’re selling.
— Andrew Escobar (@andrewe) December 3, 2014
There are indeed plenty of ways to get TV and to do so cheaply, including the main reason why Bell and rival Rogers are getting into the streaming game – namely Netflix, and its $9-a-month subscription.
In that light, Crull’s remarks are disingenuous since what he’s really suggesting is that people need to pay through the teeth for something in order to truly love it.
Here in Ontario, a Bell Fibe TV subscription with no bundle or contract costs a minimum of $49 a month. Add in the mandatory installation fee and that comes to $638 a year. And that’s going up faster than the rate of inflation.
That basic package comes with 58 channels, including New Tang Dynasty (in Mandarin), Vision, a couple of weather stations and a bunch of French channels.
Personally, I’d have no interest in any of those. I’m also pretty sure I wouldn’t be interested in the majority of the content being aired on the channels that I may indeed want. And yet, I watch TV shows – gleaned from other places such as Netflix – almost every night.
“Love” is obviously a subjective term in this case. When you marry a person you love, you have to accept all their flaws as well. If your bethrothed is sweet to you once a week and offers you nothing the rest of the time, well hey, that’s love!
Then there’s the cost issue.
I don’t know about anyone else, but there are plenty of things I love that I refuse to spend $600-plus on per year. Just a few that come to mind: steak, pizza, ice cream, skiing, going to the movies, books, watching baseball games.
In fact, there are lots of things I love that cost nothing at all: going for walks, biking, spending time with my wife, hanging out with friends, sleeping.
Would I subscribe to Crave TV at $4 a month if it didn’t require a Bell television subscription? Absolutely. Would I do it at $8 a month? Probably. I love HBO shows, but I wouldn’t quantify that love at $53 a month. I don’t spend that on pizza or going to the movies.
At least Rogers and Shaw had the sense to make their streaming service Shomi available to their internet subscribers as well. Internet service is something that no household can do without, unlike an increasingly illogical – and love-bereft – television subscription.
Equating love with money has always been a bad idea, and it’s especially true in this case. Make no mistake: Crave TV has nothing to do with love.