Several major TV service providers have applied to increase the price of their basic TV package.
The application, filed to the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) by Bell Canada, Cogeco, Eastlink, and SaskTel, is asking to increase the price of the package from $25 to $28.
In addition, the companies are also calling for annual adjustments based on inflation. They argue that the proposed fee hike should be based on the consumer price index from the previous year.
As a result, the CRTC is now asking Canadians to submit their views on the proposed price increase via an online form. The deadline for submissions is on Oct. 28, 2022.
A basic TV package in Canada includes local and regional TV stations, channels with mandatory distribution, community and provincial legislature channels, and provincial and territorial education channels. It may also include other services such as educational TV stations from other provinces, as well as stations from major American networks or PBS.
The plan was first mandated by the CRTC in 2015 with the goal of increasing choice in TV programming and increasing access to information through affordable services. The requirement was officially put into effect in March 2016.
According to the CRTC, 100,000 Canadians signed up for the service within two months after the requirement came into effect.
And paid TV is apparently still popular. A 2018 report by the CRTC revealed that Canadian adults still spend eight times more time watching traditional television than they do watching internet-based television. The CRTC defines internet-based video services as subscription-based video-on-demand (SVOD), transactional video-on-demand, and advertising video-on-demand.
But SVOD streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime video saw a meteoric rise in the three years following. A joint study by Rogers and Tubi found that as of fall 2021, 80 per cent of Canadians were subscribed to and paying for a streaming service. Although the surge in popularity was partially boosted by the pandemic, it has been increasing steadily since 2016.
In contrast, traditional TV subscribers have been dwindling in Canada. Insider Intelligence reported that 10.5 million Canadian households had paid TV in 2015. By 2025, it predicts that there will only be 7.0 million households that maintain a paid TV subscription.