Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Canada enters unchartered territory as TV regulator okays the so-called 'unbundling' of pay TV operator bouquets.
Be careful what you wish for South African consumer and pay TV subscriber - foaming at the mouth and wanting pay TV operators to "unbundle" their bouquets so that you can just get the TV channels you want (and I'm telling you this as a completely independent journalist, TV writer and TV critic having covered the TV industry for years).
While South Africa's National Consumer Commission backed off from a totally botched and uninformed decision to send MultiChoice, TopTV and the SABC laughable "compliance notices" to so-call "unbundle" their services, Canada's TV regulator has taken a big step in the same direction.
Although not ordering pay TV operators in Canada to "unbundle" TV channels, the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission just told that country's pay TV operator Bell Media that it would be allowed to do a so-called "unbundling" of services.
While pay TV subscribers would be allowed to order - and Bell Media be allowed to offer - just a limited number of TV channels, Bell Media also gets the right to ask subscribers to pay more for each of the individual TV channels the subscriber wants, if they opt out of a specific bouquet.
The CRTC's decision isn't forcing pay TV operators to "unbundle", although pay TV operators say it will lead to pay TV subscribers actually pay more for less television. Bell Media said that if it unbundled its TV bouquets, individual TV channels' prices will fluctuate based on the number of subscribers who sign up for a specific channel - or don't.
"Fewer TV channels will mean unit costs for those channels will be higher than if you buy a bigger package," said Kevin Krull, the head of Bell Media. "There's a volume discount for viewers who take bigger TV tiers with more channels."
Logic and the structure of the entire TV ecosystem and the pay TV industry dictates that niche TV channels would disappear under such a dispensation - operators won't carry and offer TV channels which incur an operating and bandwidth cost but don't attract enough subscribers to make the effort worth the trouble.
Less TV channels mean less demand for programming; therefore less TV production companies, less people employed, less variety and ironically - less choice (or is it more choice?) and making pay TV more expensive. The fewer TV channel which consumers are subscribed to, the fewer channels there will be, and the more expensive each will become.
on 12:27:00 AM