Canadian Cabler Launches Pick-And-Pay TV Trial

Rogers Communications will allow subscribers in Ontario more choice in how they build programming packages as part of a six month pilot program.

TORONTO – Canadian cable giant Rogers Communications is the first major carrier here to experiment with pick-and-pay TV.

A domestic cable and satellite TV industry that has long packaged popular American channels with upstart Canadian services to boost their take-up has been ordered by the CRTC, the country’s broadcast regulator, to offer TV viewers more consumer choice.

The result has Toronto-based Rogers, Canada’s biggest cable operator, from November 8 rolling out a pilot program in London, Ontario that lets subscribers select their channels.

An initial 86 channels that are part of a digital starter package will be offered to local TV viewers for a base price of $20.29, with additional channels available at extra cost.

The pilot program will run until March 2012, just ahead of an April 1, 2012 deadline by the CRTC to have major Canadian carriers allow subscribers more flexibility in building their own TV packages.

We have been looking at offering more customized solutions for some time that give customers more flexibility with all the benefits of reliable, digital cable, including Rogers on Demand. This trial gives us the chance to hear from our customers about the packages that work for them,” John Boynton, executive vp and chief marketing officer at Rogers Communications, said of the pilot program.