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Can 'skinny' cable keep people from cutting the cord?

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'CRTC is driving the industry... but so too is the marketplace,' says a media watchdog

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Tomorrow is deadline day for cable and satellite companies to offer you their new pared down, cheaper channel packages. But will “skinny” cable keep more people from cutting the cord altogether?

With most TV service providers not exactly trumpeting the “skinny” packages they are being forced to offer, media watchdog Michael Geist — a law professor at the University of Ottawa — says it’s not just federal regulators pushing for change.

“The CRTC is driving the industry in this direction, but so too is the marketplace,” he argues.

Cable and satellite companies recognize online streaming services have changed the landscape drastically.

“They’ve positioned themselves to benefit, regardless of the choice that you make,” says Geist.

“As viewing habits change and more and more people shift to predominantly streaming choices, they’ll be looking to either cut the cord altogether or for cheaper alternatives. I think that’s where these basic packages fit in.”

Geist points out in some cases, TV subscribers are required sign up for a company’s Internet services, as well.

“But at the same time, as Netflix drives people away from that system, that does represent a competitive threat,” he tells us.