Customers frustrated with paying for television channels they don't want can expect more flexible packages in light of a new ruling by Canada's broadcast regulator, though exactly how it will work has not been stated.
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission has ruled in favour of proposals made by Bell Media and Telus Corp. to adopt a more flexible TV package model.
"In this decision, one of our main criteria was flexibility and innovation in the packaging," said Denis Carmel, a spokesman for the CRTC.
Carmel said that while individual channels may cost more under the new model, consumers' bills may go down because they will be paying for fewer channels.
The CRTC could not provide details about the terms of the agreement, which is confidential. Both the regulator and media companies repeatedly used the words "flexible" and "flexibility" to describe it, though.
The ruling reflects a marketplace that is moving towards more flexible packaging, where consumers only have to pay for what they want, Carmel said.
"In the old days there were huge packages where to get one channel you might have to pay for many more," he said.
"More and more, the offerings are such that you have more flexibility as a consumer to select what you really want and not have to pay for channels that you may not watch."
Kevin Crull, president of Bell Media, called the decision a victory for consumers.
"The CRTC has sent a very clear signal that it supports carriage arrangements that will deliver more packaging flexibility to consumers," Crull said.