Canadian regulators warn operators they have one week to come up with skinny bundles

Canadian regulators sent published a memo for the country's pay-TV operators, warning them that they have one week to comply with new rules mandating the offering of skinny program bundles.

"The Commission reminds licensed broadcasting distribution undertakings of the new requirements to offer and promote a small entry-level basic service and flexible packaging options coming into force on 1 March 2016," said the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission.

By March 1, operators including Shaw Communications and Rogers Communications must offer video services that do not exceed $25 a month (not including equipment leasing) but do include local and regional Canadian television stations and provincial or territorial educational services

By December, these operators must offer channels on an a la carte basis. 

Delivering a speech last week, CRTC chief Jean-Pierre Blais also warned operators not to get too creative in finding work-arounds to the new regulations.

"Cable and satellite companies should not view this change as an opportunity to replace business practices designed to maximize profits from captive customers with newer forms of anti-consumer behavior," he said. "Instead, I urge them to make the products they sell even better for Canadians."

For its part, Shaw has already announced plans to debut a 40-channel bundle for $25. 

Other Canadian operators have toyed with a skinny bundles in the past.

Several years ago, for example, Videotron began offering subscribers the chance to choose five individual channels from a list of choices, and Rogers toyed with a la carte pricing as part of a "skinny basic" package it offered from 2011 to 2012.

For more:
- read this CRTC page
- read this DSL Reports story

Related articles:
Canada to propose forcing a la carte programming
CRTC releases online tool to help Canadian consumers find wireline, wireless, broadband and TV services