Unbundled Cable Packages Can’t Come Soon Enough

Recently, I defended the big cable companies or at least my position to keep paying them for the services I like.  Paying for cable is very much a lifestyle choice and depending upon what you watch (sports) and when you watch it (when it’s live), cable still makes sense for many Canadians including myself.  This doesn’t mean more choices shouldn’t be offered to Canadian consumers, and based on some recent media announcements, it sounds like our federal government is finally listening to us.  Maybe for future votes?

In the throne speech this week, I expect our federal government to unveil plans to legislate cable and satellite TV providers to offer “pick-and-pay” services to Canadians.  This legislation should allow consumers to unbundle channels from their existing cable packages and instead just pay for the channels they want to use.  Our broadcast regulator, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) urged cable and satellite TV companies to move to a pick-and-pay pricing model a few years ago when revised CRTC regulations came out but that model was not legislated and thus never fully adopted.  Hopefully the government will make the “pick-and-pay” model stick this time by making it a mandatory offering.

The big questions remain however, how much will consumers need to pay for each cable channel?  Will there be premium channels that come with premium pricing?  Will a minimum number of channels need to be purchased within the “pick-and-pay” model?  What would you pay for each cable channel?

For this last question, use my poll in the sidebar on my site and make your voice heard.  I’ll tweet your results over the next week or so and see what attention I can get from Rogers, Bell, Shaw and the cable gang.

My name is Mark Seed - the founder, editor and owner of My Own Advisor. As my own DIY financial advisor, I'm looking to start semi-retirement soon, sooner than most. Find out how, what I did, and what you can learn to tailor your own financial independence path. Join the newsletter read by thousands each day, always FREE.

10 Responses to "Unbundled Cable Packages Can’t Come Soon Enough"

  1. I have Rogers cable. I asked them years ago if I could pick and choose my choices. A great idea in theory but in real life, they will simply find a way to make the popular channels more expensive and couple it with some kind of delivery fee.

    Cell phone plans have immediately become more expensive from the big three after the big 2 year maximum plan deal. Try to renew your contract now – see what they say…. There are no longer negotiating like they did before the changes. They have actually worked in collusion with one another to make this happen. Individuals

    1. Same Paul (Rogers).

      I had a reader who is a Videotron customer and he said he can get his “standard” channels, 20 of them, for about $25. I would be fine with that.

      Add in a few specialty channels for my wife and I, and we’re at $30-$35 max for cable. Not a bad deal, a buck a day for entertainment.

      Hopefully less collusion going-forward 🙂

    1. I worry about this as well Daisy. Did you take my poll? How much would you be willing to pay for each cable channel? Or at least, the specialty channel? I hope this goes through and get executed by the cable companies soon.

  2. I don’t know about this one Mark. To be honest we only watch a few channels but if it ends up costing me more to pay for the few channels then it does now for a the full deal then sod it I’ll just cancel the lot. I’m interested to see where they will take this but at the same time there will be pros and cons. I don’t think it will me a lick of difference to our pocket books. In Canada anything to do with telecommunications is just gold lining in their pockets and they know it. Best of it is in the UK on the BBC we don’t have commercials but in Canada it’s non-stop. How can they charge so much when the TV is littered with paid adverts? Someone is laughing all the way to the bank.

    1. Like you, I’m interested to see where they take this as well. There will be pros and cons as you say, hopefully more pros. I suspect the days of telcos lining their pockets is slowly coming to an end. Their margins will not be as high going-forward. Thoughts?

  3. I have been a client of Videotron in Québec for over 7 years and I always was able to pick and choose my channels. You could just pick an option (I choose 20 channels for $24,99) and I just choose my channels among all their choices. Of course, HBO and Movie Network and such are not part of that deal. But TSN and the French RDS are, along with Rogers Sportsnet. With that and Fox and CBS during the football season, I can watch a ton of football games, a ton of baseball games, all the Montreal Canadians games, most of the Ottawa Senators game, and some of the Maple Leaf (but why would I torture myself in watching the Leaf). That pick and choose deal was one of the reason that made me choos Videotron over Bell.

    HOwever, I don’t have an HD tv (keeping my old one until it breaks for now), and I think that they put sports channel off limit with that deal with HD. I’m not sure however.

    1. Thanks for the comment Francois, I was hoping a Videotron customer would chime in!

      I like that pricing, 20 channels for about $25/month. I could see my wife and I getting a channel set of that size.

      I have no idea why you’d watch the Leafs games. Is your wife punishing you or something? 🙂


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