Pick-and-Pay Television

The ubiquitous Rogers remote.
This has been a long time in the making.

Seems Canada's broadcast regulator, the CRTC, wants to make choosing your own television channels a reality.

One thing that never made sense to me before was how television providers packaged channels you didn't want into a bundle.

They made sense for the service providers. They could take back the numbers to the content providers who owned the channels and say "look at the people who have access to your channel!"

For the end user like you and I, it was basically throwing in a bunch of channels we'd never watch with the 4 or 5 channels I would watch. Seriously, as amazing as it sounds, I'm not interested in the Parliament channel or the channel that shows fishing 24/7. There's also a channel that broadcasts, presumably, a live HD feed of a fish tank. It's called The Aquarium Channel. I kid you not. It kind of looks like this.

Those amazing channels aside, wifey and I only tuned into the basic channels when we were subscribed with Rogers. We watched the CBC, CityTV, CBC News Network, and CP24. In additional, as a Make Me Laugh fan (although last season was more of the Made Me Cry variety), I watched SportsNet and TSN. For the privilege of watching six channels, we were charged $45 a month (this was the most basic package available)! That's $7.50 a channel! Considering we can get CBC and CityTV for free, that's means we were really paying $11.25 for each "premium" channel.

What a rip!

Thankfully, we cut the cord a couple months ago and haven't regretted it since.

So how would this pick and pay system work?

Seems the CRTC wants the service providers to make the most basic channels available as a "skinny basic". Then subscribers would choose the channels they want added to their service. The proposed cost of this "skinny basic" service would be between $20-30.

Of course, $30 for the most basic of services would be a waste of money if you can get the same channels OTA for free! However, if you're in an area where there are no towers broadcasting the signal for free, I can see how this is a good alternative.

This proposal doesn't list the costs of each channel. For a company like Rogers, they might offer some of their channels for free and charge a fairly steep fee for any of the Bell channels (and Bell would likely respond in kind).

What I also find surprising is that in Eastern Canada, this is already a thing. Seriously? So why hasn't this moved west?

In any case, it will be interesting to see how this plays out.


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