Canadian government wants to unbundle television channels, offer a la carte programming

By on October 14, 2013, 5:45 PM
canadian, canada, cable tv, a la carte, tv bundles, satellite tv

The Canadian government will soon require cable and satellite providers to unbundle channel packages and offer them a la carte. During a recent television appearance, Canada’s Industry Minister James Moore said it wasn’t right that Canadians have to pay for bundled television channels they don’t watch. He went on to say they want to unbundle television channels and allow residents to pick and pay for the specific channels they want.

True enough, some Canadian cable and satellite providers have reportedly already started offering a la carte service. Unfortunately, it’s not a move that US providers are likely to follow. The US government hasn’t shown any serious interest in pursuing the idea outside of John McCain’s Television Consumer Freedom Act of 2013 which hasn’t gained any steam since its May introduction.

This means it’ll likely be left up to competitive pressure to get something done.

Services like Amazon, Netflix and Hulu Plus have all influenced a number of cord-cutters; those that have ditched traditional pay television for cheaper and more flexible alternatives like those just listed. Their success could skyrocket if any of the services could tap into live sports programming. Cord-cutting hasn’t worked just yet but experts believe providers are looking at continued customer losses unless they unbundle channels.

Even unbundling online channels would be a start. HBO has done just that in Europe, allowing customers to purchase HBO Go – their online service – without requiring a concurrent cable subscription. But of course it’s not likely to happen anytime soon stateside.

User Comments: 19

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TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I'm moving to Canada.

Guest said:

Yay I live in Canada

learninmypc learninmypc said:

If I could, I'd move up there too. I haven't wasted the time yet to count how many channels I get, but imo wayyy too many home shopping for garbage channels are on.

Rasta211 said:

Nice. Go Canada!

Altowarrior Altowarrior said:

This is such a no brainer and a great move it would be. I am so sick of being forced to pay for these sub par channels that that I dont watch.

Bravo to Minister Moore.

I believe it when I see it though. Big telecom has big bucks and lines a many other ministers pockets to speak on their behalf.

1 person liked this | Guest said:

I would cancel like 70% of the channels or more.

MilwaukeeMike said:

This could be sort of a mixed bag... on one hand customers have more freedom to pay for what they want, and nothing more. That's great. But it also means that the smaller channels won't get any revenue from the package deals and programming quality may go down. It may not matter to most that the golf channel is getting less money, but remember AMC wasn't known for much until Breaking Bad.

The other downside is there's no one to stand up for the customer anymore. Nowadays when some bully channel like ESPN wants to raise their rates TWC and Rodgers (in Canada) can tell them to F off, because they know their customers will all get mad if their cable bills go up. Now the channels will be free to charge what they want. That means your $100 will pay for far fewer channels and prices may change frequently.

But.... it'll also mean more competition between channels and that could mean more great programming.

I'm glad I have relatives in Canada so I can watch this experiment.

Ranger1st Ranger1st said:

Right now to get 8 kids channels from any of the cable or satellite providers here in Canada I have to get 34 other channels ranging from BET, a rave music station and a channel devoted to the stock market..

1 person liked this | Guest said:

Pretty much everyone in the tv industry is dropping the ball right now.

Opportunities are being missed by old f*cks who no longer understand society.

Think about it. Everyone right now is walking around with a screen in their pocket, a screen in their living room, a screen at work. Tablets, phones, laptops, consumers have so many damn ways to watch a screen, yet the cable companies want to tie us to the screen in front of our tv's.

Cable is going to die. Not any time soon, but it will die. Kicking and screaming.

Eddo22 said:

It's about time. Hoping they are forced to stop blacking out Hockey games as well.

Lionvibez said:

I live in canada also can't wait for this!

Guest said:

I'm Canadian and I got rid of cable tv years ago. I use netflix + hulu (us vpn) + hockeystreams + torrents... But I may actually consider getting tv if this happens, for a few select channels.

Tekkaraiden Tekkaraiden said:

I can see Rogers and Bell fighting this, though if it goes through I'd actually subscribe to cable for the first time in 6 years.

Adhmuz Adhmuz, TechSpot Paladin, said:

but remember AMC wasn't known for much until Breaking Bad.

You mean AMC didn't exist until a couple years ago, previously know as Rainbow Media Holdings since the 80s, the same Network that owns IFC, a channel I'm sure everyone in North America has herd of. But Cable companies change names and ownership pretty often so I couldn't fault you for that.

Does this make me want to start paying for TV, not at all, prices are still going to be too high, especially those select "specialty" channels or "premium" channels that everyone wants. Theres so much bloody advertisement on TV it should pay for itself already, either that or I'm paying for commercial free services like Netflix, or straight up downloading what I want to watch, when I want to watch it.

Adorerai said:

"Canadians have to pay for bundled television channels they don?t watch." What else do Canadians have to pay for that they don't use?

Guest said:

""Canadians have to pay for bundled television channels they don?t watch." What else do Canadians have to pay for that they don't use?"

Probably a lot less than Americans pay for.

Guest said:

We have to pay for health care through our taxes, even if we're under 30 and haven't been to a hospital in over 20 years. Of course the off chance that something happens, I'm covered. I'd prefer cheaper taxes, and private health care.

My internet costs an additional $30 to have unlimited bandwidth. All in all I'm paying nearly $100 for an unlimited 15mb connection (tax included). That is pretty ridiculous. Basic TV where you have nothing to watch is $40, or $100 for a package that has a few stations you actually watch... so needless to say, I canceled my TV subscription half a decade ago.

I run my own company and make a decent income, but I don't like throwing money away.

Guest said:

Why are you paying $100 for unlimited internet then if you hate wasting money? Rogers right?

Guest said:

Videotron. We're paying it because we need some form of entertainment after work/school. There are 5 people, 5 computers, 5 phones, and 2 tablets in the house. Without TV there is a lot of streaming. We usually hit around 350GB a month. $55 for a 15Mb connection, 75GB limit, and $30 to upgrade to unlimited bandwidth. So after tax we're at just under $100.

I probably use the most bandwidth streaming sports in high def.

dikbozo said:

I am a Canadian citizen and I vote.

The current government has floated this trial balloon as part of a strategic move to engage a disaffected electorate. This is also part of a smokesceen to cover up several scandals.

The likelihood of this thing ever seeing the light of day is approximately zero. The cable industry is a large corporate sponsor of the current government and will frown on this with an empty wallet. Should anything actually be produced on this I fully expect it to be watered down to nothing. The vast majority of the wires connecting the internet pass through the cable providers so if the 'unbundling' gets too silly and widespread (not that I expect it to), the price of your connection will go way, way up and all that lovely free hotspot wifi you get with your large double double will go 'bye bye'.

BTW we have some of the highest internet fees in the world and not terribly good coverage. This is easy to understand when the facts of a population of about a tenth is spread over an area slightly larger than the USA,(including Alaska) by a few percent is understood. Large distances and small population makes for difficulties in developing competition. A real no brainer here.

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