By Etan Vlessing
TORONTO (Hollywood Reporter) - Netflix co-founder and CEO Reed Hastings will be in Toronto Wednesday to launch an online video subscription service that will allow Canadians to download their favorite flicks and TV shows for a monthly fee.
Entering the Canadian market is Netflix's first foreign expansion. The move has local video distribution players girding for cutthroat competition. Besides Netflix, Internet content-streaming behemoths like Apple TV and Boxee are getting set to launch north of the U.S. border, too.
Phone giant BCE Inc. 10 days ago unveiled a $3.2 billion deal to acquire top-rated national TV network CTV. Cable giant Shaw Communications has a deal in the works to purchase rival broadcaster Canwest Global Communications Corp. for $2 billion.
They along with other players like cable giants Rogers Communications and Quebecor Media have been bolstering their online video offerings in recent months and lowering the cost of their data plans. All this is in anticipation of Netflix's expansion northwards.
Netflix's Canuck offering will be only online streaming, with no physical DVD rentals planned, at least for now.