Benno's TVs by Stephen Coles (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Benno's TVs by Stephen Coles (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)


Why Did the CRTC Mandate Pick-and-Pay? Because BDU’s Wouldn’t Do It On Their Own

The CRTC released its TalkTV decision this afternoon and – as expected – it includes a mandatory basic service capped at $25 per month (which may include U.S. channels) and mandates a pick-and-pay alternative no later than December 2016.  Why did the CRTC conclude that it needed to regulate a pick-and-pay option?  Because the public wanted it and it was convinced that cable and satellite providers would not do it on their own. This passage from the decision tells you everything you need to know and gets it exactly right:

while some parties argued that it would be sufficient to prohibit programmers from preventing BDUs from offering programming services on a pick-and-pay or build-your-own-package basis, this approach does not take into account the fact that vertically integrated BDUs have every incentive to ensure that their related programming services are insulated from the financial pressures that come with greater choice and packaging flexibility. As such, BDUs, and vertically integrated BDUs in particular, may not be sufficiently incented to make the necessary changes to their current offerings or might make these changes at a much slower pace than that desired by Canadian subscribers. Moreover, the Commission considers that BDUs have not generally demonstrated that they would willingly move to more flexible packaging options on their own.


  1. To everybody who doesn’t know:

    BDU stands for Bharathidasan University, or is it Battle Dress Uniform?

    But it’s really – BDU: A broadcasting distribution undertaking as defined by the CRTC, for example a cable, satellite or microwave distributor.

  2. Jean La Tuque says:

    I fail to see how this affects Quebeckers, aside from potential issues in the future should the BDU’s change how they operate in Quebec.

    Does anything change for Quebeckers in this policy ruling?

  3. Reading the papers today about this I noticed that none of them included a notice saying that they are owned by a company that also owns networks or channels.

  4. Michael,

    I was surprised to only see two paragraphs for this post 🙂 I hope to see a more detailed posting by you in the future, as you seem to be one of the few intelligent sources on the subject. The ‘Why?’ and ‘Because’ is what should really be investigated, and not by some puppet committee.

    The current BDUs need to brought into line or dismantled before it is too late.

  5. I decided to get ahead of the game. I dropped all my themes, and was left with the basic package (Still $50) and one channel that I could not live without.

    My price dropped by $48.00/month, and will drop another $25.00 when this ruling takes effect. What I found most interested is that in more than a month since I did this, I have not experienced any feelings of loss.

    It makes me wonder how many people out there have loaded up on themes, when in fact one or 2 channel picks would be sufficient.

    If anything, this ruling will make everyone take a hard look at what they have, and what they don’t need.

    Thanks CRTC!