Business

CraveTV adds Game of Thrones, but some fans say too little, too late

Bell Media is adding Game of Thrones to its stand-alone streaming service Crave TV, something that Thrones fans have been craving for years. But not all fans are celebrating, because only past episodes will be available.

Streaming service will start offering past episodes starting next month

This year, Thrones fans will be able to watch seasons 1-7 of Game of Thrones on streaming service, CraveTV.

Bell Media is finally adding the hit series Game of Thrones to its stand-alone streaming service CraveTV, something Thrones fans have been craving for years.

But not everyone is celebrating the news, because CraveTV — which costs $7.99 a month — will only be offering subscribers past episodes of the hit HBO series.

"I've seen it, so I don't care," says Andrew Powers, a Thrones fan in Ottawa who still craves a Canadian streaming service that will offer all episodes of the fantasy drama — new and old.

But, for now, Bell is just offering the old: The first three Game of Thrones seasons are set to appear on Crave on Feb. 16, and the next two seasons will soon follow. Seasons six and seven will be added sometime this year.

At this point, Canadians wanting to legally watch new episodes of the final season when it airs in 2019 will still have to pay for a top-tier cable subscription.

The requirement of a cable subscription has long been an issue of contention with many Thrones viewers, who would prefer to sign up for a cheaper streaming service to watch the show in real time.

Some have even justified pirating the series because they claim, while they would pay to stream it, they won't shell out for a pricey TV subscription.

In the U.S., subscribers can pay $14.99 US a month for HBO Now, a streaming service that offers access to new Game of Thrones shows.

Bell Media bought the rights to all HBO content in Canada in 2015, raising hope that shows like Game of Thrones would soon be offered on a Canadian stand-alone streaming service. Instead Bell opted not to roll it out on CraveTV, even the past seasons, until now.

Bell told CBC News that adding past episodes of Game of Thrones to its streaming service shows that the broadcaster is listening to its audience.

"We continue to assess the marketplace and evolve our HBO strategy with CraveTV — as evidenced by [Monday's] exciting announcement," said spokesperson Scott Campbell in an email to CBC News.

Some Thrones fans immediately rejoiced upon hearing the news they will soon be able to stream their beloved show on CraveTV.

"SWEET! And I was just considering cancelling my subscription," posted one person on Facebook.

"That's amazing!!!" echoed another viewer.

Thrones fan Amy Leaman says CraveTV adding past episodes of Game of Thrones now is 'a little bit too late.' (CBC)

But not all fans expressed joy. "It's a little bit too late," said Amy Leaman in Toronto, who believes Bell should have offered all episodes on CraveTV — both current and past — a long time ago.

"There's only seven episodes left. They've really dragged this one out really far," she said. "It's a bit like flogging a dead horse."

Cable subscriber Powers also isn't thrilled. He says he pays $22.50 on top of his $60 cable subscription so he can watch his favourite HBO shows.

He believes he should be able to stream series like Game of Thrones for a cheaper price, but says Crave's new offering doesn't solve anything, because he also wants to watch those shows in real time.

"I'm paying premium price to see it when it's live immediately," says Powers. "It's overpriced. This type of stuff should be like Netflix."

However, HBO fans who don't need to watch their shows in real time may now find their cravings satisfied. Crave is also adding previously aired episodes of other HBO series, including Girls in February, Silicon Valley in March, The Leftovers in April, and Ballers and Insecure in May.

About the Author

Sophia Harris

Business reporter

Sophia Harris has worked as a CBC video journalist across the country, covering everything from the start of the annual lobster fishery in Yarmouth, N.S., to farming in Saskatchewan. She now has found a good home at the business unit in Toronto. Contact: sophia.harris@cbc.ca

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