TORONTO — Bell Media’s Crave platform is expanding into the French-language Canadian market with a sprawling lineup of films and TV shows.
The country’s largest homegrown streaming TV platform says it will officially become a bilingual service on Jan. 28, timed for the debut of Crave Original series “Pour Toujours Plus Un Jour.”
The company estimates 5,000 hours of French programming will be available at no additional cost to all current Crave subscribers. The selection will include 250 French-language TV series, among them upwards of 160 original Quebec productions, including “Edgar,” “La Fac” and “Mirage.”
Viewers will also have the option to upgrade to Crave’s new Super Ecran tier of service, which has another 1,000 hours of French dubbed or subtitled Hollywood movies and HBO series, for an additional $9.99 each month.
Bell spokeswoman Nicolle Stranges says the streaming platform intends to translate some of its French-language Crave Originals into either dubbed or subtitled English versions later this year, but she couldn’t specify how many titles or when they were expected to be available.
Crave’s foray into the French-Canadian streaming market comes as the company strengthens its position against the global streaming giants.
Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney Plus, for example, offer French dubbed or subtitled versions of many major Hollywood titles, but their selection of original French programming is limited.
Club Illico, operated by Montreal-based telecom company Videotron, is a key player in the Quebec market with an extensive array of Quebecois TV and films. It will compete directly with Crave’s new offering.
Bell Media has also secured the French-language rights for select HBO Max programming as part of a deal with the TV division of Warner Bros. that begins rolling out in the spring.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2020.