Astral launches TMN Go

The video streaming service for subscribers will make more than 1,500 hours of TMN, HBO Canada and TMN Encore content available for viewing on iOS, desktop and, in the coming weeks, Android devices.

Astral’s The Movie Network has launched The Movie Network GO, a video streaming service that will let TMN, HBO Canada and TMN Encore subscribers stream programming from their mobile devices.

The service, officially launched Wednesday, will provide viewers with more than 1,500 hours of content from TMN, HBO Canada and TMN Encore and include HBO, Cinemax and Showtime series, films and exclusive content, like four HBO digital comedy shorts and other bonus material.

TMN GO, available for streaming over WiFi and 3G (or higher) networks, features a pick-up-and-play option, which allows for starting to watch content on one device and continue on another, and a function to share what users are watching via various social media platforms.

The Watchlist function automatically adds new episodes of a series on the list, and notifies the user when they are available.

The services, available via the umbrella TMN GO app, are being made available at no additional cost to TMN and TMN Encore subscribers.

The app is currently available for iOS devices and Mac and PC desktops, and Astral CEO Ian Greenberg said during the company annual shareholder meeting at which it was launched that it will soon be available for Android devices.

In Eastern Canada, it’s accessible to Bell Fibe TV, Bell Satellite TV and Cogeco Cable customers, with the service launching with Rogers in the coming weeks, Greenberg said.

TMN GO joins TMN’s existing offerings in HD, SVOD with TMN OnDemand, and broadband streaming with TMN OnLine.

The offering is indicative of the ways in which Canadian content providers are adapting and developing their services to compete with foreign OTT services like Netflix.

That was a key point in BCE’s original pitch to the CRTC to acquire Astral – the need for a homegrown competitor to other OTT services – and something Greenberg addressed Wednesday.

“The Canadian broadcasting system is undergoing rapid change, driven mainly by the emergence of foreign internet-based OTT broadcasters. These new services do very little to support our culture and our economy, because they do not create Canadian content, do not hire Canadians, do not pay taxes in this country, and do not support our artists, creators and local talent,” he said.

He also said during the meeting that a new application for BCE’s acquisition of Astral will be made public in the coming weeks.