If you thought that perhaps Canadian skinny basic TV packages might be for you, think again!
Montreal-based Bell released its low-cost starter TV package to the country Sunday, and it’s not pretty.
The package includes the CBC, CHCH, CHEK, E!, CPAC (in BOTH languages!), CTV, Global, TVO, The Weather Network, and 10 francophone channels.
The package will cost you $25 (hardware purchase/rental is extra).
Carleton University journalism professor Dwayne Winseck told The Toronto Star that Bell’s choices are “things that we’ve never heard of. They’re working to give it a stillbirth,” he said, calling the the offerings “behind 1970s standards.”
Competitor Rogers is throwing U.S. Channels like Fox, NBC and PBS into their skinny basic offering, which also goes for the mandated $24.99 per month.
Shaw’s Limited TV plan at $25 per month will give you 40 channels, including ABC and Fox.
These basic TV packages were mandated by the CRTC last year, and will be made effective come Tuesday, March 1st 2016. The idea was that consumers would be able to access local programming at a cheap price as an alternative to the more expensive bundles that offer many channels that go unwatched. Providers must include channels like CBC, CTV and Global. However, the inclusion of U.S. networks is not a requirement.
Bell will not extend bundle discounts to include the starter package.
According to anonymous staff at both Bell and Rogers last week, both companies have instructed their employees to mention the new offerings only when asked directly about the skinny basic option. They will also do little in the way of advertising this new option.
In response to the lackluster offerings and a lack of enthusiasm from the big telecom companies, technology analyst Carmi Levy told The Toronto Star that “it’s not fair to fault anyone.”
“There is no free lunch in entertainment.”