New ‘day pass’ for sports streamer a first in Canada

TSN president Stewart Johnston says a new 24-hour subscription option for TSN and RDS is meant to drive sampling for the sports streamers.

Bell Media is charting new territory in the landscape of digital streaming, thanks to a new “day pass” for its digital sports service TSN Direct and French-language RDS Direct.

Consumers who have not already opted in to the $24.99 monthly subscription to the digital service, which was launched in June 2018, can purchase a single-day option starting in March.

The new day pass, which has been added in anticipation of the NCAA March Madness basketball tournament, allows consumers to stream TSN and RDS Direct in a 24-hour period for $4.99. TSN and RDS currently have exclusive Canadian broadcasting rights to the annual tournament. The pass does not require a linear subscription and gives audiences an opportunity to access major sporting events as well as regular TSN series such as SC with Jay and Dan (pictured).

“From a strategic point of view, it’s a way to sample TSN,” Stewart Johnston, president of media sales, marketing and TSN at Bell Media, told Playback Daily. “We base our programming strategy on offering a breadth of choice across five feeds. We think the more people who might sample us they might say, ‘hey, I’ll just sign up for the month.’”

According to Johnston, this is the first time a 24-hour VOD subscription has been made available in Canada. In Europe similar options are available, such as the U.K.’s Now TV which offers a single-day sports package for £7.99 (around CAD$13.70). Johnston says that while they were able to consult with international counterparts on their experiences, much of the justification for the new offering came from “understanding the nuances of how [TSN direct] subscriptions are going” based data collected since launch.

At the end of the day, Johnston said the decision was both a response to consumer demand and a desire to create an original content offering. “It’s a full 24 hours to soak in everything that we’re offering,” says Johnston. “We believe it’s a powerful value proposition to the consumer.”

With files from Media in Canada