by JAMES BRADSHAW, MEDIA REPORTER
The unbundling of Canadian television channels has begun – but it will take until the end of 2016.
Television viewers will be able to buy only the channels they want, one by one or in small packages, the federal broadcast regulator said Thursday. By the end of 2016, TV subscribers will have the option of adding those networks to a slimmed-down, “skinny” basic package costing no more than $25 per month.
The decision caters to consumers who have vented their frustrations to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), wondering why they had to pay for channels they don’t watch simply to get the ones they like. But with greater choice comes the prospect that some customers may pay more, a number of channels will likely die out, and the companies that provide TV could see major revenue losses that spur job losses and shrink the range of programs produced.
“Today’s decision is not about making choices for Canadians,” CRTC chairman Jean-Pierre Blais said in a statement. “Rather, it is about setting out a roadmap to give all Canadians the freedom to choose the television content that meets their unique needs, budgets and realities – which can even include free, over-the-air television stations.”
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Let’s Talk TV: CRTC sets out a roadmap to maximize choice and affordability for Canadian TV viewers
March 19, 2015 – Ottawa–Gatineau –Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) today set out a roadmap that, in a World of Choice, will maximize choice and affordability for Canadians television viewers. By the end of 2016, viewers will be able to supplement an affordable entry-level service with the additional channels they want, either on a pick-and-pay basis or in small, reasonably priced bundles of channels.
By March 2016, Canadians will be able to subscribe to an entry-level television service that costs no more than $25 per month.This service will prioritize local and regional news and information programs given that many Canadians spoke of their importance during Let’s Talk TV. News and information programs enable Canadian citizens to better participate in Canada’s democratic, economic, cultural and social life. Canadian consumers also expressed frustration that the basic packages offered by cable and satellite companies had become too large and costly. Canadians will now have alternatives.
Canadians, who choose to do so, will be able to supplement the entry-level television service by buying individual channels that will be available either on a pick-and-pay basis or through small, reasonably priced packages. If they so choose, they will have the option of selecting theme-based packages—such as sports, lifestyle or comedy—offered by their service providers.
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