Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Canadian regulators to force satellite, cable providers to unbundle channels

It's a long-standing request from many Americans, and much like Single Payer healthcare, it's coming to Canada first. The Canadian industry minister said on Sunday (via Reuters), that soon cable and satellite TV providers will be forced to unbundle channels.

Long desired in the U.S., it would mean that folks who want ESPN, but don't care for ESPN 2, Fox News, or other channels would no longer be forced to buy a package that contains not just the desired channel, but tons of those the subscriber isn't interested in.

During an appearance on CTV's "Question Period," Industry Minister James Moore said:
We don't think it's right for Canadians to have to pay for bundled television channels that they don't watch. We want to unbundle television channels and allow Canadians to pick and pay the specific television channels that they want.
To be clear, some Canadian cable and satellite TV providers have already begun -- voluntarily -- offering so-called "a la carte" pricing to subscribers.

While Canada is going to force the industry into making this move, it's not expected that U.S. regulators will follow suit. Instead, pressure from other services, such as streaming sites like Netflix, Hulu Plus, Aereo, and Netflix may force providers into a change.

Already, some in the U.S. are "cutting the cord," so to speak, with their cable provider (or "blocking the dish" with their satellite provider). Analysts have said that if the industry wants to stem the tide of customers leaving for a la carte broadband-based services, they will have to offer consumers the ability to buy the channels they want, and only the channels they want.

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