More than 66,000 Canadians have signed up for a skinny-basic TV package since its rollout on March 1, according to the CRTC. In a Friday press release, the regulator said a third of those who signed up also took advantage of pick-and-pay channels and theme packs. The CRTC said it asked Access Communications, BCE Inc., Cogeco Inc., Eastlink, Manitoba Telecom Services Inc., Rogers Communications Inc., Saskatchewan Telecommunications Holding Corp., Shaw Communications Inc., Telus Corp. and Quebecor Inc.’s Videotron for the number of subscribers who have taken on the new package offerings. Experts told The Wire Report they were sceptical about the reception to the skinny-basic TV packages of no more than $25 per month that were mandated by the CRTC last year. Full pick-and-pay options will be mandatory by Dec. 1. But the majority of Canadians are nonplussed by the skinny-basic packages, suggest the results of an Angus Reid Institute study released Friday. Sixty-eight per cent of respondents said the extra costs associated with the new packages meant they were not worthwhile despite offering greater choice, said the report. Only two per cent of respondents said they’d actually made the switch to a skinny basic package. However, nearly half of respondents (47 per cent) said the concept of the CRTC requiring service providers to offer stripped-down packages was a good idea. The results were based on an online survey of 1,513 Canadians, conducted between April 5 and 7, with a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 per cent, 19 times out of 20. The skinny basic program has been “very strongly resisted” by broadcast companies, said Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) executive director John Lawford, during his appearance Thursday in front of the CRTC’s basic services hearing panel. Lawford was responding to a question posed by commissioner Christopher Macdonald about designing stripped-down Internet packages for low-income customers. Lawford said that based on the TV rollout, it’s “not an experience we want to repeat.” Chair Jean-Pierre Blais interjected, saying that Lawford’s assessment of the skinny-basic rollout “is not based on full evidence.” “We are examining whether the basic skinny package on the broadcasting side has been adopted,” Blais said. “I think your experience may be based on what you see in the central Canadian marketplace. There are companies in this country that have embraced it.” Blais has previously stated that the CRTC will be watching TV service providers to see how they implement the required changes.