A la carte on the menu as Canadian regulators look at pay TV

Canadian pay-TV subscribers may get something their U.S. counterparts have frequently requested--a la carte programming selection--as the industry's FCC counterpart, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) proceeds to the third phase of its investigation of TV services.

Called "Let's Talk TV: A Conversation with Canadians," the multi-phase project is exploring how to change TV "to meet the current and future needs of Canadians as citizens, creators and consumers." In particular, the third phase, which features a public hearing Sept. 8, will focus on how "the basic television package that all subscribers receive can be slimmed down and get back to the basic," the CRTC said in a press release.

The CRTC's goal is to have a slimmer package of basic channels that include local television stations, public interest channels currently distributed to all subscribers, educational channels, community channels and services operated by provincial legislatures.

"For all other services, Canadians would have three options," the press release continued. They can choose channels on an individual basis (also known as pick-and-play); build their own packages of pay and specialty channels; or choose from packages pre-determined by cable and satellite operators.

On the technology side, the CRTC is considering whether to create an audience measurement system that draws information from cable set-top boxes.

"Such a system could assist the Canadian television industry in responding more effectively to the changing needs and interests of viewers, while protecting their privacy," the CRTC said.

For more:
- see this press release

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