What do an altruistic dog, teenagers around a campfire telling ghost stories, and hand puppets all have in common?
A new YouTube channel has been launched called Encore+, allowing Canadians to watch their favourite television and film content from years gone by, including The Littlest Hobo, Are You Afraid Of The Dark?, and Mr. Dressup.
The free-to-watch channel was spearheaded by the Canadian Media Fund (CMF), in conjunction with Google Canada, Bell Media, BroadbandTV (BBTV) and Deluxe Toronto. Telefilm Canada also helped launched Encore+ by providing financial and promotional support.
The channel was officially launched at the Google Canada office this week, and viewers will be able to watch fan-favourites like Degrassi High and Da Vinci’s Inquest along with newer shows like Little Mosque on the Prairie. Movies and miniseries will also play prominent roles within the channel, in addition to a significant number of French-language titles. Many episodes have already been uploaded, and there will be more to follow as the channel expands.
“Many of the titles we’re featuring have been enjoyed by audiences from different generations and were funded through public support,” said Valerie Creighton, CEO of CMF. “The public is a shareholder in this content and these great works deserve to be available to Canadian and world audiences. Providing access to this content celebrates the work of many Canadians both on- and off-screen, some of which started their careers in content now made accessible through Encore+.”
Encore+ is meant to be a hub for online Canadian content that was previously either very hard to access, or not even available at all. The channel acts as a love letter to what Canadians have accomplished on-screen in the country.
The collection will be managed by BBTV and look to generate worldwide exposure in order to stimulate demand for Canadian content. YouTube is a perfect avenue for this, as there are over one billion hours watched on the platform each year. The choice is also important for younger generations who watch on their phones, as 600 million of those hours are streamed on mobile devices.
The rights holders to the content will be the ones who benefit from the views on Encore+, as CMF and Telefilm have stated they will use the channel as a test for a new business model for catalogued content.