Pick ‘n Choose Channels

When you go into a restaurant, you aren’t usually forced to order the buffet. When buying music, you’re given the choice to get just a single track instead of the entire album. While shopping for clothes, you can buy a shirt without having to buy socks you won’t ever wear.

Yet when you order television in Canada (outside of Quebec), you have to take entire packages just to get the stations you really want. There is no pick and choose option that lets you fine tune your cable line up to meet your specific demands.

This isn’t because of technical limitations. It’s not too hard to do, because it is already being done. If service providers wanted to let you select just your favorites, they could surely find a way. But they don’t.

In fact, the CRTC ruled last week against smaller content providers trying to do just that. These independent providers want to offer consumers the option to customize their own programming packages, but the CRTC says no.

Why? Because of Bell Media. Bell was worried that, given the choice, Canadians wouldn’t pay for mediocre programming they never watch anyway. And this would cause a potential lose of revenue.

How’s that for a load of garbage? Because giving us flexibility might mean they lose money, Bell wants to force us, by law, to pay more than we should. What else could we expect from a company wanting to charge $2 to use a pay phone.

No matter how much Bell can corrupt the CRTC, the old cable TV business model is still going to die. With streaming services like Netflix, and an abundance of television shows available online (either legitimate or not), more and more Canadian consumers will move on to find the content they want at a price that works.

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