Newspaper article The Canadian Press

No Need to Force Pick-and-Pay TV on Service Providers, It's Coming Anyway; Study

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

No Need to Force Pick-and-Pay TV on Service Providers, It's Coming Anyway; Study

Article excerpt

Forcing pick-and-pay useless, study says

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OTTAWA - Forcing TV service providers to offer their customers television channels on a pick-and-pay basis would be a waste of time, a new study says.

The C.D. Howe Institute report released Thursday says ever-changing technology will soon put viewers squarely in the driver's seat, allowing them to choose everything they watch one program at a time.

And it suggests it would be better for regulators to determine whether broadcasters should continue to be required to fund the production of Canadian content.

The study also opposes the idea of forcing new video-distribution services, such as Netflix, to pay into funds that subsidize such content.

Entitled "Let the Market Decide: The Case Against Mandatory Pick-and-Pay," the study comes as the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission conducts a comprehensive review of how consumers get their TV programming and how they pay for it.

The Harper government has been promoting the pick-and-pay model as good for consumers.

And the CRTC has been debating how that might work, suggesting an array of options for getting there. One suggestion would allow people to buy only the individual channels they want to watch, on top of a pared-down, price- capped basic service that would include either mainly Canadian channels or a mix of Canadian and U.S. channels that would otherwise be available free over the air.

"Any proposals to mandate such 'pick-and-pay' channel choices are deeply misguided and are largely an exercise in futility in the light of the technological revolution that is unfolding in the communications sector," said C.D. Howe.

"Any regulation would become irrelevant at best, harmful at worst."

During two weeks of hearings which finished last week, one of the industry's big players acknowledged that it expects a sea change in how people get their TV programming. …

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