Pick and Pay and Theme Packs

Just Moved In

First I think your new Theme Packs are terrible.  I think you should let us make our own theme packs.  Any 5 or six channels will be a theme pack. Or just straight pick and pay.  When will this happen?

Status: New Idea
Just Moved In

So, in other words you did what you wanted to meet the bare minimum of what CRTC asked you to do and you didn't consider your customers.  That is great.  The countdown is on for me leaving Telus Optik TV then.


I'm leaving Telus Optik also. The skinny basic is a joke, the lite is even worse.

Telus has nothing but contempt for their customers and the CRTC. It's just a horrible cash grab. All the marketing they do with cutesy animals, green initiatives is a whitewash. Shaw has a better lineup but I despise them also. I'm going to OTA Antenna (which I can get 6 channels for free. I feel so liberated .


Disappointed, I am not even looking to pay less for Optik TV. All I want to do is trade off some of the channels I don't ever watch for some that I would like to have but are grouped in other "themes". I will have to add to the complaints to the CRTC since Telus is not responding to customers.

I can't even tell what is available to me because when I went to have a look at changing my plan online, something like "warning, you are about to cancel your entire TV line up". All I wanted to do was look at my options now.

Why are there countless news channels in one bundle, most of which I will never watch but the CBC documentary channel is hiding with only 2 other channels (and one of those is G4??)

I have the pick 8 and movie package. I don't mind the price, but am very frustrated I get a lot of Religious channels, ID and other "CSI" rerun channels but have to choose the entire News package to get CNN (for 1 show, Anthony Bourdain if you are curious) - and the news group doesn't even have CNN international. 

Telus, this is simple - make it possible for your customers to get a TV package they want for the same price they pay now and a lot of people will be happy.

Otherwise watching online seems to be the only solution to cable companies that are not listening. I know I am over paying for TV, I am willing to do this for the convenience. But internet options are getting more and more attractive. 

Community Power User
Community Power User

 You (and all the cable providers) are missing the point. I don't want to pay extra for another channel. I want to drop the 15-20 stations that I never watch and trade for a few I do want. I am willing to pay the same amount, I just want to be able to "pick and pay" and not be forced to choose from "theme" packs.

Community Power User
Community Power User


  You named two channels you want to watch. To my knowledge, both are available as individual picks. There is a base cost to provide service, which in Telus' case is their Essentials package (though you could choose the skinny basic, if you wish), which includes a number of local channels and a few US ones. Beyond that, you can choose as few channels as you wish. It is highly unlikely that there will be an option to only have the two channels you want, as the requirement for a basic package to build from is included in the mandate from the CRTC.


I personally watch virtually no TV, and the information I am interested to learn is available by other means, so I can understand your point. I'm just indicating the likely reality of television in Canada for the foreseeable future.


BTW, other than participating in this forum, and consuming Telus services, I have no affiliation with Telus, or any other cable provider, so please don't point your finger at me as though I represent Telus. If you don't like my suggestions, you can have a full refund of my freely given opinion.



@Scoto, Is there a rationale for the increase in the price of some of the individual channels?  For example, I notice that CTV News Channel has gone from $4 prior to the expanded pick n pay to $5 now.    

TELUS Employee
TELUS Employee

@jaxon60 I'm afraid I can't give you a specific answer for why the price of some individual channels increase or decrease. Channel pricing is reviewed from time to time (CTV News Channel rate had actually increased prior to the new a la carte offerings) and any changes are based on a variety of factors including licensing agreements.

TELUS Employee
TELUS Employee

@jaxon60 I found out some more about your question:



...Looking at the links you provided, it seems that you have not made any of the Time Shift channels available individually except NTV.  All of the Time shift channels are discretionary.  Why can these not be selected on an individual basis?...

Time Shift is essentially multiple versions of the same channel in different time zones. Making each one available a la carte does not fit with our clear and simple approach and we've left the local versions available in the basic package, Essentials.


Because NTV is only available in Time Shift, it's also available as an individual channel. This is in alignment with the CRTC mandate.


Thank you @Scoto


One of the reason I like the idea of Pick n Pay, and that it appeals to many, is that we get to pay only for the channels we want.  I want my dollars to go to those channels not a group of channels.  So even with the time shift channels, I would rather pay individually for the three or four that I want rather than 23 channels (19 of which I don't want).  


You note that making each one available a la carte does not fit with your 'clear and simple'approach.  But not making them available does not fit with your more widely publicised "Pay for the channels you actually want" approach.


The CRTC has made a bit of a muddle of things by using the words 'discretionary' and 'specialty' interchangeably.  To me, if I am not required to pay for a channel, it is discretionary.  As a result, all of the time shift and Superstation channels should be available a la carte.  But I suspect that you are going on the basis of those channels not being specialty.  However, to the best of my knowledge, there is nothing preventing you from being true to your slogan and allowing us to pay for the channels we actually want.


The interesting thing about all of this is that by not making everything available a la carte and offering customers the opportunity to build our own bundles, you are actually getting less revenue from people like me.  I would spend more than I am now if I could get the channels I want. We are foregoing some channels because they are spread throughout several packages and are unwilling to pay for several packages to get the few we want.  If we could group selected superstation channels, timeshift channels, and other discretionary channels in a pick 10 for $20, for example you would end up with more money each month from me.


In all honesty, I expected better from Telus.  I know the other BDUs own, either directly or indirectly, specialty channels that they are trying to keep alive through bundling.  For Telus, it really should be about revenue per customer, and I believe your current plan is failing you.


Unfortunately, it seems, you are speeding the move for many to OTT services that will end up making your investment in IPTV obsolete.  It would be nice Telus could react as quickly as the cute animals you use in your marketing instead of a like dinosaur.





Community Power User
Community Power User


    For clarification, discretionary and specialty channels are interchangeable terms as used by the CRTC. There are about 20 channels which are defined as mandatory by the CRTC. This CItynews article references them in this line: "As well, analysts note there are about 20 channels that TV distributors must carry, including the CBC and Radio-Canada."  I'll wager APTN, AMI, The Weather Network, local / regional stations, educational and legislative channels are among those non-discretionary stations.


So if you consider discretionary channels as being a decision of the CRTC, rather than jaxon60's personal selection, you may gather greater understanding of the regulatory situation the broadcasters face.



Edit: found a longer list of requirements: 

The basic package must include channels on the CRTC's mandatory distribution list, including CBC, CTV, Global, AMI (3) & TV5, educational and aboriginal and minority English or French language channels. At least 10 of the channels must be local or regional, including the community channel and the proceedings of the provincial legislature, if available. 


TV viewers will then be able to supplement this with either individual channels or small bundled channel packages.


@NFtoBC, sorry, discretionary and specialty are not interchangeable terms, except to the CRTC.  The CRTC is using the word discretionary to mean specialty and pay television services.


In real english Discretionary means exercised at one's own discretion, individual choice, or judgment


That means anything that isn't mandatory is discretionary.  I don't have to subscribe to CBC Ottawa, that means it is discretionary.  But Telus, following CRTC regulations, does not, apparently,  have to offer it on a standalone basis.  So it is not a discretionary channel under the CRTC's definition.  And therefore, there are far more than  20 channels offered by the Telus that are non-discretionary, even though they are not mandatory.


The 20 channels you are talking about are likely the ones that have to be included in skinny basic, but since  the article you linked to was from 2013,one can't say for sure.


My research indicates that the CRTC's definition of discretionary are channels that in 2015 were, at the time, the current specialty and pay Category A, B and C services.  I think we all know what pay services are, so the issue is the specialty services.  Here is the CRTC considers a "specialty television programming undertaking" to be any non-premium television service which is not carried over the airwaves or otherwise deemed exempt. 


Having said all of that, nothing in that changes anything I said in my post with regard to Telus and its offering.  But it was nice of you to provide the distraction from the real issue.






I'm just wanting to get sportsnet pacific standalone.   not sure why this is so hard to get.  Also I'm VERY curious why shaw can offer all 4 sportsnet channels for $8 but telus so far has not offered this bundle to their customers yet.    Shaw offers the same package of sportsnet with TSN for a similar price as telus.


Telus - can you please add a sports theme pack of just sportsnet channels for a reasonable price similar to shaw?   or at least offer sportsnet pacific as a standalone channel?


TELUS - can you please respond to why both vmedia and shaw have sportsnets theme packs but you ONLY have tsn and sportsnets packs combined?  i realize you can't sell individual channels because of content provider restrictions (which btw, have recently been lifted), but you CAN sell all sports, tsn sports and sportsnet sports packs.  your competition sells it so it is possible and not restricted by the content providers.  an answer would be appreciated.

TELUS Employee
TELUS Employee


There is a TSN Pack a Sportsnet Pack and a Popular Sports pack that includes some Sportsnet channels and some TSN channels.




Is this what you're seeing as well? I want to make sure we're on the same page.


Hi - I talked to telus support.  here's the answer  I recieved:


for sports you can have all sports (both TSN and Sportsnet) for $14.   


you can also order just the sportsnet pack but we will charge you $14.   you can also just order the tsn pack but we will charge you $14.  So you are better off with all the sports channels because we will not charge less for the sportsnet or tsn pack.   


Basically you are charging such a high price for each pack that the consumer is offered no real choice but to get all the sports channels.


I firmly believe this is not competitive pricing or that telus is offering fair pricing.  vmedia is charging $10 for the sportsnet pack and shaw is charging $8.   why is telus charging $14?