The opinions expressed in this editorial are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Decima Reports.A major shakeup with the digital specialty channels appears inevitable as the new ventures put financial drains on their parent companies. Some channels may merge and others may be taken off the air. From the start, broadcasters acknowledged that the digital channels would not make money for years. But most did not predict that the take-up rates for each channel would be so low.  The 500-channel universe sounded good. But consumers haven’t responded to the large offering of new digital channels as expected. Audience numbers in the smaller digital world are miniscule compared to those in the analog environment. How long can companies afford to carry on, with just hundreds of viewers watching, in hopes that the digital world will expand and somehow their channel will catch on? All of the broadcasters have already cut back their budgets, trimming programs and staff. That usually translates into cheaper programming and/or a lot of repeat programming. Will that be enticing enough for people to want to pay more for? Overall, the specialty services, particularly the analog ones, are taking a bite out of the viewership of over-the-air free channels. Some broadcasters continue to remain hopeful, saying the channels will evolve and find their niche as audiences grow. But there are only so many hours in a day and a person can only watch so much television. That begs the question: Even if the channels are ultra enticing, is Canada’s population base large enough to support so many digital specialty services? How many Canadians, for example, would want to tune to a new music channel when there are already existing music channels and soon to be a video-on-demand music option through Shaw Cable? The CRTC took a step toward deregulation with its digital channel licensing framework. For the first time, services could be competitive with each other, and numerous services were licensed. What needs to happen next is a market correction. Some of the struggling channels will have to be radically modified or taken off the air. Financially, some of them just don’t make sense.