With Netflix charging $8 per month for all of their content, Bell’s Crave charging the same, and Rogers Shomi charging $9 per month for their digital video on demand services, I can’t imagine why anyone would want to continue to purchase cable TV packages. Especially when you see that the new pick and pay single channels option that the CRTC fought so hard to get for consumers will cost $3 or $15 per station.
Despite the CRTC completing failing again to regulate and mandate proper pricing and content rules for media in Canada, I don’t think there is any faster way for television companies to kill themselves off than to let Bell and Rogers charge more than Netflix for an individual channel.
When the idea of being able to pick your favourite channels came out, the thought and hope was that people would be able to get rid of all of their useless stations and save a great deal of money. Of course, the cable companies fought back and a compromise was created: the starter pack. It was to be made available at $25 per month and include at least ten local and regional TV channels, public interest channels, community channels and legislative channels where they are available.
You can’t just contact Bell or Rogers and ask to get BBC Canada for $4 per month. You have to purchase the Starter pack at $25. Don’t currently have cable TV with Bell? Then you’ll be paying $200 to have it installed unless you want to sign up for a two-year contract, and then it is only $50 to have your cable installed. Don’t forget about the $15 per month PVR that is a requirement when purchasing the Starter pack. So your set-up costs are at least $50, and your monthly bill is $40 plus tax.
And now you can add single channels for $4 or $7 a piece or buy a ten pack for $37 per month. So let’s add a ten pack of channels on there and your bill is now $77 per month plus tax.
With Bell, you also need to have their Internet to be able to subscribe to their television service since that’s how it comes into your home. I won’t add the price here, but it is something to be aware of if you are trying to keep costs low, which was supposed to be the point of the new Starter television packages mandated by the CRTC.
For most things, purchasing through Rogers is very similar. They might let you save a few dollars here or there, and cost a few extra for other things, but no matter how you look at it, the two key players in the television space in Canada have created a system to maximize their profits and do an end run around the government regulations created to provide Canadians with an affordable information service.