The CRTC has set a deadline of March 1st, 2016 for changes to cable.
The regulatory body for Canada has mandated a new “skinny package” of basic cable for $25. It would include the local stations, provincial education stations and national stations. In short, that is the CBC, CTV, Global. City, access TV, weather and most likely APTN, YTV, a news service and some American channels.
So far only Shaw has released their skinny package despite warnings from the the government that telecoms must promote the service.
Shaw will have a mix of 44 channels, some HD and some standard definition.
There is a catch. If you want to watch any high definition, you need to rent a box at $5 a month of $138 outright. Want to record anything, it doubles to $10 and more to buy the box outright.
Skinny includes NO sports channels.
Their packages start at $6 a month. If you select two of them, it is already at the price of Shaw’s Personal TV package which offers a greater selection at pretty much the same price.
Will their be customers of the skinny package? Most likely. If you have no interest in high definition, not recording stuff, don’t like sports and watch TV on an older TV with a picture tube, this package is for you.
Will a $25 service attract the people who cut the cord to television? Probably not. Those people will watch, if they watch, downloads both legal and illegal and mostly subscribe to Netflix (and U.S. Netflix at that). The only reason some of these people have cable is to watch live sports which may be harder to get via other means or is of poorer quality.
Zero dollars is better than any dollars for those who want their content free. It is hard to convince people that it is wrong or comparable to going into a grocery store and walking out with whatever you want and not paying.
So far MTS has not revealed their skinny package.
These changes won’t save the telecoms, local TV or borderline channels. A revolution is taking place and Canada and the rest of the world are likely to see wholesale collapse of parts of the industry in due course. It remains to be seem how content will be produced and be profitable under any plan thus revealed.
This has been a guest editorial by John Dobbin.
To read more from John, visit his blog Observations, Reservations, Conversations