As it works to develop a new television framework in Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, or CRTC, asked Canadians to share their opinions on several issues, including the choice to pick-and-pay for channels and the value of local TV and Candian content. Some 10,000 Canadians filed comments to the commission. Here are some of the highlights:
"Dear Sir or Madam, I have heard that you are soliciting input on the future of television in Canada. Please do not forget those of us who, because of limited financial resources, depend on over-the-air transmission. It would be a shame to for our isolation to increase because we no longer had access to television." – Joan Mulcahy, Sudbury, Ont.
"Why is it so difficult to remove ALL bundling and allow consumers to choose only those channels they want? If I want a blue shirt, I don't also have to purchase one in red, yellow, green, etc." – Elizabeth Moore, Winnipeg, Man.
"Canadian broadcasters and the CBC need to be supported in these changing times, as once lost, it is unlikely those services can be recovered. We cannot resist change and technology is changing rapidly – you may well find that these proposed changes made to respond to that technology will be ineffective in the near future. It is best to start with our values and work to preserve those in our changing world." – Mary Neely, Red Deer, Alta.
"I fully support the unbundling of tv services. I find that there is so little on tv that is worth watching, and yet I am paying for literally hundreds of tv channels that I never watch. I think that if a specialty channel cannot attract enough viewers to financially survive, then they should fail." – Brian Tychie, Ottawa, Ont.
"Simultaneous substitution should be ended completely. ... Despite a value that could be in the hundreds of millions of dollars, the valuation of simulcast is irrelevant, as substitution cannot begin to compensate for the damage done to the Canadian television system. The CRTC must champion the program rights of those who are contributing to the Canadian television system." – Robert Dilworth, Toronto, Ont.
"I support the proposition whereby individuals are able to choose the number and variety of channels they receive. For some this may be a significant savings, for others perhaps not, but any action that allows households choice will get my support." – Jane Harrison, Picton, Ont.
"I pay nearly $90.00 per month for my Bell sat. service. I only watch a handful of channels, however in order to get these few, I had to purchase a number their various bundles. I find this totally unfair and would like to be able to purchase individual channels or if I so choose, bundles." – David Taylor, Picton, Ont.
"I believe consumers should be able to choose the programs they want to watch and pay only for those programs. ... I sympathize with consumers who want to watch channels that may have a limited audience but if broadcasters consider how much money they earn from all cable subscribers, they should be able to keep offering those channels. ... In fact, I think the broadcasters' claims that those channels will no longer be offered is their way of creating fear about changing television channel bundles. They are trying to keep the status quo because it's in their interest to do so." – Rhonda Bishop, Oshawa, Ont.
"Netflix needs to pay to use our systems." – Margaret Perason, Sechelt, B.C.
"Please bundle 'news' programs differently. The News bundle should only include programs that broadcast real unbiased news that tells both sides of every story, e.g. CBC News, PBS NewsHour, BBC News and Vice News. There could be a separate Gossip bundle for programs with poor journalism standards like Fox News, Sun TV News, etc. I prefer to have none of my money go to biased programs that do not report both sides of every story." – Carol James, Toronto, Ont.
"A strict pick-and-pay system is no better than today's offerings. A hybrid system is best, one that offers CBC, local stations & all all-news stations as standard part of a package, with either pick-and-pay options from themed packs or, standard plus all other stations as pick-and-pay. The government must also cap the per-channel charges, as in an oligopolies market such as ours, pricing can become significantly higher than current model." – Caroline Kalaydijian, Oakville, Ont.
"Consumers are in charge and want choice. No one is disputing that, but what is in clear evidence in many categories is that too much choice becomes overwhelming and the increased level of choice is not economically supported and eventually choice is actually reduced." – Sunni Boot, Toronto, Ont.
"All news channels should be treated equally... why can't I buy Sun News in Yellowknife but instead have 10+ CBC stations crammed down my throat?" – John Curran, Yellowknife, NWT.
"Even charging $3.~$4./channel would allow providers to make money as their costs are well below. We are being FORCED to PAY for channels we do NOT want through the cable providers dictatorship! That is no different that wanting to purchase a pair of shoes and HAVING TO BUY the pants to get the shoes!!?? Allow Canadians to buy through US providers!!! Far cheaper, as low as $79.99/m for cable, internet and phone!" – Tricia Evans, Kamloops, B.C.
"Please Do NOT decommission [over-the-air]. There is currently a trend of Cable or Satellite subscribers to 'Cut the Cord' due to rising costs and poor service and quality. Many people are relying more and more on OTA broadcasts to receive their local news and programming. Reliance on this transmission will be growing into the future. Television stations can still generate advertising revenue from this type of broadcast. Should broadcasters see a savings from discontinuing this service, the funds will not be redirected to programming." – Daniel Avramov, Toronto, Ont.
"Tv stations are a thing of the past. If the CRTC wants to write a new rule. Make it this. All Canadian programing must be avalible on all Cell phones, tables, and computers. You could even say that some types of Canadian programing must be free and not be counted as part of any data plan." –John Smallegange, Oshawa, Ont.
"Making cable flexible is the key to accessibility for millions of Canadians. Yes even with reasonable price points viewers will still choose illegal methods of obtaining content, but the number will be less if an option is offered that caters to the needs of the viewer at a price they can afford. This wouldn't be the broadcasters conceding, it would be the broadcasters adapting and in order to stay lively within this media landscape its something they must do." – Ashley Blackburn, Toronto, Ont.
"I am also fully in support of getting rid of the simultaneous substitution of US and Canadian programming. I would rather watch US Commercials (especially during major events like the Super Bowl or Academy Awards) rather than seeing the same commercial 3 or 4 times in the same commercial block which often happens during the Canadian feed of a program." – Darren Toews, Winnipeg, Man.
"Broadcaster don't feel the need to create original Canadian content, as they can just cash in using Simultaneous substitution. I feel cheated as a consumer. I am paying for a certain number of channels, but half of the channels are duplicates (an American channel and a Canadian channel showing American content). If Simultaneous substitution was stopped it would encourage a spur of new original Canadian content." – Sumit Saini, Brampton, Ont.
"The broadcasters have destroyed their own business model with a race for the most specialty channels. They seem to have overlooked the obvious...a limited size audience in Canada is now spread over more channels, meaning each channel has fewer viewers than before. Therefore, they cannot charge advertisers the same per minute as previously. They try to recoup the lost revenue with measures such as carriage fees from the cable companies, which are extracted from customers through rates that are no longer worthwhile. As the cable companies lose customers due to inaffordablilty, they must raise the rates of the remaining customers. This is not sustainable. It was a mistake to keep granting licences for more and more channels, and the trend must be reversed." – R. Nienaber, Victoria, B.C.
"I watch only a small handful of channels (History, History 2, Discovery, Nat Geo, Documentary channel, I.D., and KVOS ME-TV Bellingham. I SHOULD be paying $15-$20 for these few channels, yet I pay over $100/month for 90 channels I never watch. With the old Big Dish satellite systems of the 80's and 90's, you could subscribe to a single channel if you wanted-you were not forced to bundle with a bunch of unwanted channels. About time for a change the will benefit the Canadian consumer on a service which most people use." – David Linge, Kelowna, B.C.
"I hope you fix the TV programs. So tired of paying big bucks for TV to break up the time alone as most of us older people are." – Evangeline Giffin, Brooklyn, Alta.
Source: CRTC Let's Talk TV Interventions.