Join Greg and Diane on Mondays as we debate a TV-related issue thatâ€™s on our minds. This week:Â What channels will you select for Pick & Pay?
The CRTC announced whatÂ everyone in the Canadian TVÂ industryÂ suspected was coming: a pick and pay model of television. As Kelly Lynn Ashton outlined in her latest Wonk Report, starting in March 2016Â cable and satellite companiesÂ mustÂ implement a skinny basic at $25 that includes local channels, mandatory carriage channels, educational channels and provincial legislature channels. They must also offer either the opportunity to pick and pay for individual channels or small packages that they either build or are themed.
By December 2016, cable and satellite companies must offer both individual and small package choices on top of skinny basic.
So, what pick and pay channels would we choose to be part of our cable lineups in addition to the basic cable package we’ll already have? Below are Diane’s and my picks; let us know yours in the Comments section or via @tv_eh.
- History: I need my fix of Vikings, Gangland Undercover and the infuriating Oak Island Mysteries
- Showcase: So that I can see the last season of Haven and more Outlander
- Food Network Canada: For Chopped Canada, You Gotta Eat Here and repeats of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives
- Sportsnet: As long as they air Blue Jays games, I’ll pay for Sportsnet
- HBO Canada: I need this for U.S. programming like The Jinx, The Knick, Ray Donovan, Vice, True Detective and Last Week Tonight
- HGTV: I don’t tune in often, but when I do it’s to watch Mike Holmes, Scott McGillivray, Timber KingsÂ and anything starring Bryan Baeumler or Paul Lafrance
- Space: Orphan Black, Bitten and Doctor Who
- W Network: So my couchmate can grab her fix of Hugh Grant movies
Ooh, Hugh Grant movies. ButÂ I have DVDs, Netflix and Xbox Video to cover me on that. Sorry, W Network.
I have a whole other decision to make before I get to picking channels: do I even want to go back to cable?Â I’ll have to look at the options when skinny basic and pick and pay is available, including whatever package deal I might be able to get with internet, before seeing if I’m even moderately tempted. It’s really, really nice not to have that cable bill. Between an over the air antenna, Netflix, and Chromecast to see online shows on my TV set, I don’t feel I’m missing anything right now.
The one thing that might tip the balance is if I could get a cheap skinny basic package that included the US channels (which I can’t pick up where I live on OTA) from a provider that offers a discount with internet and also offers CraveTV. And a pony? As long as Crave stillÂ has the HBO library that might be enough to tempt me back.
Even then, I’m skeptical. I’m looking at the channel listing right now thinking … hello old friends. I don’t really miss you.
That said, if I did decide to go back, and I did decide to supplement skinny basic, here’s what I’d want:
- Fluidity. No, that’s not a channel, that’s my way of saying I’d want to subscribe and unsubscribe to channels regularly as TV series I want to watch come and go. If AMC had another Breaking Bad, I’d be there.Â But right now … meh. I can wait for Better Call Saul to pop up elsewhere.
- HBO Canada: This channel is home to many series I can’t easily get another wayÂ and suspect (or know, from the onesÂ I have seen) I would like. The Comeback, Hello Girls, The Knick, Olive Kitteridge, Togetherness, Silicon Valley, Veep, Sensitive Skin. I think I could have just HBO Canada and be happy.
- Movie Central: If I could have HBO Canada and Movie Central I’d be happier. Episodes, Nurse Jackie, Masters of Sex, House of Lies, plus movies, of course. Also HBO Canada/Movie Central used to have some of the best Canadian series on the air — Call Me Fitz and Less Than Kind, to name two — and I’d love to see what else they come up with.
Hmm, listing all those great seriesÂ makes me think going back to cable might not be such a long shot after all. Still, no cable bill is awfully nice, and I suspect my picks would haveÂ my skinny basic getting fat very quickly.
So your turn … what channels would you stick with?