After public hearings last year, the CRTC (Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission) announced today that Canadians will be able to pick and choose which television channels they wish to pay for by the end of 2016.
“Today’s decision reflects what we have heard from Canadians. More and more Canadians are watching the content they want when they want and on the multiple devices they choose,” CRTC chair Jean-Pierre Blais told reporters. “By March 2016 Canadians will have access to an entry level television service that costs no more than $25 a month.”
The basic $25/month cable package will include local and regional channels as well as educational and special interest services, and will “prioritize the local and regional news and information programming that so vitally connects viewers with their cities, their province, their territory, their country and the world,” according to Blais. Starting in March 2016, providers will have to offer the “skinny basic” package and will have to offer either an a la carte television pick-and-pay option or “small, reasonably priced packages” to subscribers. As of December 2016, all providers will have to offer both options to consumers. Unfortunately the CRTC didn’t specify what “small” or “reasonably priced” meant, nor did it set a price for the pick-and-pay option.
Many providers are against the changes, stating that a price cap on the basic package would limit their abilities to upgrade their services for subscribers, and also referenced studies that indicated financial loss for providers would be a result of giving consumers more flexibility and choice. One study indicated a potential for 11,000 jobs to be lost and a $1 billion loss in GDP for Canada in 2020. The CRTC dismissed this as being based on “highly subjective assumptions and estimates.”
“I won’t say that the results of this decision will mean that every service provider, broadcasting, programming undertaking will survive in this new environment. There may indeed be services that will not survive and there will be job losses,” said Blais. “Our view is, in this new environment, which is far more competitive good companies will find ways to innovate, compete and thrive if they are successful.”
Canada’s Heritage Minister Shelly Glover spoke for many Canadians when she indicated to Global News that “Canadians should not have to pay for television channels they don’t want, just in order to get the one that they do.”
You can watch the announcement in the video below.
What do you think of the CRTC’s decision? Are you excited to finally be able to pay for only the channels you want? Let us know in the comments below, or on Google+, Twitter, or Facebook.Source: Global News
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