Last fall in its annual speech from the throne, the government announced that “Canadian families should be able to choose the combination of television channels they want” and suggested that it would “require channels to be unbundled” and offered to consumers à la carte. As a result of this commitment, late last year The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), which regulates the broadcasting content we see on TV and hear on the radio, launched “Let’s Talk TV”, a process which invites content creators, channel owners, TV service providers (like TELUS), and Canadian TV watchers to provide input on the future of TV regulation in our country.
This week that process will culminate with hearings in the National Capital Region where various stakeholders will present their views to the CRTC in the hopes of helping to reshape the future of Canadian TV watching. To do that, they will look at how companies that own channels sell their content to TV service providers like TELUS and how those service providers then package up that content and offer it to you, the customer.
Ultimately, the goal is to create a new framework for TV in Canada that recognizes just how much the industry has changed due to new technology and the increasing availability of Internet-based services and content.
TELUS will present its views in a hearing on September 11, where we plan to advocate for new rules that increase the amount of choice and flexibility available to Canadian TV subscribers. TELUS already has one of the smallest basic packages in the industry (the CRTC requires all TV providers to start with a basic package of local channels), and our customers can then pick and choose from 16 theme packs and more than 100 channels à la carte. We would like to be allowed to do more. Our hope is that this review results in us being able to offer Canadians even more flexibility and real choice in TV programming. You can learn more about our proposals by reading our written submission to the CRTC, available at TELUS’ Submission in the CRTC’s Let’s Talk TV Proceeding. You can also see an earlier blog post which sets out some of the challenges faced by TELUS in providing choice.
All Canadians are invited to get informed. You have until September 19, 2014 to get involved by visiting the CRTC Online Forum and sharing your comments. You can also listen to a live audio feed of the Let’s Talk TV public hearing that begins September 8, 2014. On the same link, you can share your views with the CRTC.
All of your input will be part of the official record of this hearing and will be available on the CRTC’s website at www.crtc.gc.ca.