Pick and pay: CRTC to unveil changes to how TV channels are packaged, sold

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission is set to unveil new rules governing how cable and satellite service providers package and sell access to channels.

The decision is the latest result from the CRTC’s Let’s Talk TV hearings held in the fall.

The Harper government has been pushing the regulator to allow for a so-called pick-and-pay system that allows consumers to choose and pay only for the individual channels they want.

However, the CRTC hinted late last summer that it would be open to a pick-and-pay option built on top of a trimmed-down mandatory service the industry has dubbed skinny basic.

In a discussion framework released in August, the regulator suggested a price cap of between $20 and $30 could be imposed on basic TV packages.

  • jayme

    Part of my issue is what people want in the skinny basic some have been pushing for all kids channels to be part of it so right there you looking at a min of 30 channels.

    • I have little faith in the CRTC, Canada no longer needs its interference.

      • jayme

        There is a tv blog and they claim to save Canadian tv we need to ban all American content.

        • Drunk_by_Noon

          How much “Corner Gas” can you guys stand? The problem is not banning American content but creating something Canadians will want to watch.

          Even those national distinctions are going away with Netflix and HBO series production.

          • The problem is that our TV production is heavily subsidized, this creates a expert class who know how to work the government system to secure funds better than they can actually make something people might actually want to watch.

          • ntt1

            Its also completely incestuous, with many grant applicants working with grant distributors they are a closed club which effectively dooms Canadian content to mediocrity.
            We have some of the best production technicians in the world international recognition for Canadian talents and skill sets is quite common. but we are also weighted down with an above the line production executive who are smug Toronto centric and completely out of touch with Not only Canada but the world. How can tiny Belgium produce compelling drama series even with subtitles yet Canadians are stuck with mosque on the prairie and corner gas? It is possible to spot a Canadian film about 10 minutes in with out any tip offs by the poor script ,crappy staging and meandering editing.

          • disqus_W6sfZCiOd8

            You can say that again and it seems to have been like that forever.

          • Drunk_by_Noon

            I think you nailed it!
            I also think that is one of the big reasons for the accidental success of American TV programs all over the world.
            Instead of being subsidized by the government, they had to produce commercialized (there is that word again) content that people would actually watch.
            Much of it is crap, but it’s just less crappy than what is being produced elsewhere, so it’s successful by default.

          • jayme

            That show has to have a international appeal as that is where a ton of money is made.

          • disqus_W6sfZCiOd8

            The CBC can’t even create a half decent documentary anymore.

          • Exile1981

            I despise corner crass.

          • Canadians CAN produce things people will watch (ex- “Ascension”, “Continuum” and so on). That doesn’t happen all the time.

          • ntt1

            Yes the production technicians are there and proven what is different is international quality direction and production executives. not the telefilm hothouse flowers

          • So- begs the question- why isn’t it done? Money can be gotten anywhere if the story is right and the production values are good.

          • ntt1

            Its the retarding influence of telefilm and the revolving cocktail party that runs it or feeds off it. if they were not in control of the Canadian production scene things would be more competitive and marketable.

          • Indeed.

          • ntt1

            This is Canada we will be forced to watch …for our own good of course

      • It is certainly not consumer-oriented.

        • Drunk_by_Noon

          And I think that is the difference.
          Everyone wanted to make “Masterpiece Theatre”, but on the government’s dime, with not much thought of commercial viability.

          • What the hell are those annoying money drives for then?

          • Drunk_by_Noon

            From who?

          • From that channel that has “Downton Abbey”.

            Lousy money drives…

          • Drunk_by_Noon

            Do you mean the CBC, ITV, or PBS (I didn’t think you got that), or something else?
            I’m not in your country and our TV is ummm… different.

          • I apologise for the confusion.

            PBS runs “Downton Abbey” (which I like). As it is public broadcasting, they have fund-raiser sort of drives in the middle of the episode which are worse than commercials.

  • David Murrell

    Look for cable-company stocks to dive — if by some strange reason the corrupt CRTC decides to give consumers a break (not likely). But I long ago sold my Canadian cable stocks, longing for the day of consumer freedom.

    In the long run, corrupt monopolies and cartels lose, since they charge artificially inflated prices for inferior products. I teach this to my first-year economics classes. More and more people are cutting the cord, much to the chagrin of the corrupt CRTC and greedy cable cartel members. Serves them right.

    • I am not hopeful they will.

    • jayme

      The issue in the States is the monopolies are growing big time.

      • David Murrell

        I hear what you are saying. I would like to know if that is true or not. I “teach by example”, and nearly every example I come p with is in a dead-end industry. True, in high tech (e.g. FaceBook?) there could be examples of growing monopolies.

        But let’s look at the CBC/CTV/Global news cartel. Is the viewership growing? Really? Do people want the exact same politically-correct bilge thrown in their face, every day? I would think not. I think people find ways of eventually escaping the bilge, and will try new avenues.

        • jayme

          If you look at Hulu just a example its the big media companys such as Nbc that own it.

  • ontario john

    What, I won’t have the benefit of 12 french language channels, even though I don’t speak french, or the golf channel, or stations that don’t even show programs that the titles imply.

    • I still remember my basic package when I lived in Vancouver I think it was about 18 or 20 channels in total a third of which were foreign language and at least two more were CBC affiliates.

      • ntt1

        two aboriginal channels showing burnt church 8 times a day.

  • Linda1000

    Don’t care as I’m never paying to watch the idiot box again.

  • Raymond Hietapakka

    …originally PAY-TV(cable) was pushed and promoted on the basis that there was to be no commercial content, as you were PAYING for your copper connection…Cable is dead, won’t exist in 2-3 years…everything will be wi-fi…

  • simus1

    When I surmised SunNews was toast, I elected to pay NOTHING for cable TV garbage!
    Poor girl was in shock, asked me three different times if I was really sure about doing this “cancelling” thing.

  • k

    My crystal ball tells me… $1.99 per channel….2 years go by = $3.99…. and one day we all wake up to the nasty surprise of $15 per channel ….

    just program the channels you don’t like out on your converter

  • disqus_W6sfZCiOd8

    “Seeing Things” was a show that I can remember seeing on CBC that I enjoyed. It was written by Lou Del Grande who originated from the USA and moved to Canada in his early twenties. Yep, one show.

  • I think that would be a good option for those who want cable but are tired of paying for extras (ie- CBC).

    I don’t know why these guys screw over consumers.

    However, the price would have to go up for some channels.

    • Exile1981

      They are still talking about CBC being part of basic.

  • WalterBannon

    Trust nothing that comes from the CRTC