Toronto’s Regal Cinemas, one of the country’s oldest cinema chains, is looking to diversify its customer base.
The company is set to unveil a new digital subscription offering to the media industry that will offer more channels to customers, the company said Tuesday.
The new digital offering will allow subscribers to access a wide range of entertainment options, including digital movies, TV shows, digital downloads, podcasts, video games and other content, the chain said in a statement.
Regal is also offering a new premium service, a subscription that includes all of the above.
Regals digital service will be available at RegalCinemas.ca, the online portal that allows subscribers to browse the entire Regal library.
The platform will offer all of Regal’s major titles, plus a number of curated films and TV shows.
The service will also offer a number, including films and short films.
“Regal Cinema is excited to introduce a new service that allows Regal consumers to access all of its titles at once and more conveniently, as well as a number curated movies and TV programs from some of Canada’s best filmmakers,” Regal Entertainment Chief Executive Officer Tony Balsillie said in the statement.
“This is a major step forward for Regal as we continue to build on our great catalog.”
Regal, which has about 4,200 screens in Toronto and Ottawa, has more than 4,500 locations across Canada, including a new Toronto location in the downtown core.
The chain is also launching a new regional hub in the Ottawa area in 2018.
The latest addition to the Toronto area, Regal will open its new Regal Toronto location at Exhibition Place, located on Queen St. W. between Bloor and Bathurst Sts.
The franchisee is also bringing back a Regal film festival to the city in 2019.
“The Toronto Regal experience is as rich and diverse as any in the world, and this expansion is the next great step in creating a truly global brand,” Balsil said in Tuesday’s statement.
The news follows Regal announcing in April that it was buying a controlling stake in Viacom Inc. The acquisition was the latest of several recent moves by Regal to strengthen its position in the film business, which it said in April was “the fastest-growing segment of the movie industry in Canada.”
Regals new digital service comes as Regal seeks to diversifying its audience, which is estimated at about 40 per cent of its total movie business.
The Canadian Movie Association said in its annual “Market Research Report” that the market for digital video subscriptions was $3.8 billion in 2020.
In the United States, the industry is estimated to have about 2.3 million subscribers, with about 1.4 million paying customers, according to the National Association of Broadcasters.
Regala also said in May that it had signed a deal to acquire Universal Pictures, a division of Universal Music Group Inc. Regalia has said it has the largest subscriber base in the United Kingdom with more than 20 million subscribers.
Regaliste.ca and Regal are the latest in a string of major companies to make moves in the media sector in recent years.
Earlier this year, Viacollectrix Inc., a joint venture between the Motion Picture Association of America and Universal Music, purchased the Canadian streaming service iStream for $1.5 billion.
The deal was one of several that were announced by major U.S. companies as they sought to attract digital subscribers and expand their reach into Canada.
The U.K.-based streaming company Netflix is also making moves to expand into Canada and its territories.
The entertainment giant has recently made moves to add new films and other titles to its streaming service, and has announced plans to add several more new films to the company’s catalog this year.
Regalis movie selection is also set to expand this year with the addition of titles including Disney’s Beauty and the Beast and Marvel’s The Avengers.
“I can tell you this much, the movie world is going to change dramatically over the next decade,” said Mark Fidler, president and CEO of Regalist, in a news release.
“It’s going to be the most dynamic entertainment landscape in the history of the industry.”
Regalist has said that it has more films on the way and will launch a film library in 2019 and a subscription service in 2020, as it continues to grow its customer bases.
Regaldine Entertainment Inc., the company that owns Regal and Universal Studios, said last year it is looking at expanding its theatrical presence into Canada, as part of a broader expansion of its theatrical footprint.
Regalidom.ca is the first of several new digital channels launched by Regalist in 2018, following its acquisition of Regalia in April.
Regalan has also been testing a new video-on-demand service, Regalan Movie on Demand, in Canada, where subscribers can watch a wide variety of movies