Bell Document Reportedly Tells Staff Not to Promote New $25 Basic TV

Bell does not want its employees to promote their new CRTC-mandated $25 ‘skinny’ TV basic package, claim internal documents obtained by CBC News.

An anonymous Bell employee told the public broadcaster “They’re making the skinny basic package simply unbuyable,” adding “What’s been explained to me is that maybe one per cent of people would be interested in getting it.”

The text in the internal training document states “Do not promote the Starter TV package. There will be no advertising, and this package should only be discussed if the customer initiates the conversation.”

Pricing for Fibe ‘Starter’ Internet and add-ons are also detailed in the document. An example plan lists ‘Starter’ high-speed Internet, plus two $7 pick-and-pay channels, and TV hardware rental, coming to $130.35, according to Bell’s calculations.

Bell spokeswoman Jacqueline Michelis said in an email to CBC News, “Sorry I wouldn’t comment on anonymous claims or documents you are finding,” adding “We wouldn’t pre-announce pricing,” and “It’s a competitive business,” while stating “We will follow all CRTC rules, we always do.”

Scott Hutton, the CRTC’s executive director of broadcasting, clarified broadcasters are obliged to advertise their new $25 ‘skinny’ TV packages, plus upcoming pick-and-pay channel options.

“[We] will certainly be following through on ensuring that they promote this package and these opportunities as well as they promote their other packages.”

Yesterday we learned of Rogers’ $24.99 ‘skinny’ TV package plus add-ons, which were released prematurely by the company after they were similarly leaked to CBC News. Bell’s own $24.95 ‘skinny’ TV bundle was leaked by an ‘anonymous’ employee on Reddit.

All cable and satellite TV companies are obliged to release basic TV packages priced at no more than $25, plus pick-and-pay channel options, starting March 1, 2016, as mandated by the CRTC.