Sun News to CRTC: No guaranteed spot on the dial, no more network -

Sun News to CRTC: No guaranteed spot on the dial, no more network


OTTAWA – Sun News Network made its final pitch to the federal telecommunications regulator on Thursday, saying anything short of a guaranteed spot on the dial would spell the end of the channel.

The Quebecor-owned network is seeking what is known as mandatory carriage from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission.

The CRTC is holding eight days of hearings in Gatineau, Que., to examine 22 applications for mandatory carriage from new and existing channels, as well as channels that want to renew their mandatory distribution status.

If the CRTC grants Sun News’ application for mandatory carriage, cable and satellite providers would have to include the channel on their basic TV packages.

Some at the CRTC hearings have suggested a “must-offer” designation — rather than mandatory carriage — would suffice for Sun News. Such a designation would only compel cable and satellite companies to make Sun News available to their customers, who could then choose whether or not to subscribe.

But Sun News executive Kory Teneycke says a must-offer licence isn’t good enough.

“Let us be very clear: a ‘must-offer’ licence would not have a meaningful impact on the current trajectory of Sun News and would inevitably lead to the closure of the station,” Teneycke said.

“Let me repeat: a ‘must-offer’ licence would be a death sentence.”

Mandatory carriage would generate significant revenue for the network, which is proposing that it would earn 18 cents a month from every household that subscribes to a basic cable or satellite package. That would help offset the network’s losses, which were $17 million in 2012 — a situation that Quebecor (TSX:QBR.B) calls “clearly unsustainable.”

Sun News says the current distribution agreements are inadequate to support the channel, which is only offered in 40 per cent of Canadian households. It says such distribution challenges also hurt advertising revenues.

Quebecor wants the CRTC to require that Sun News be carried on all analog and digital basic services in Canada through the end of 2017. It would then be treated like other “Category C” services.

“Our plan would allow Sun News to establish an audience under similar rules and regulations to those afforded CBC Newsworld and CTV News Channel for 21 and 13 years respectively,” the company said in filings to the CRTC.

“We don’t begrudge our competitors in any way, we simply want the same rules that they enjoyed — at least for the next five years.”

Some of the country’s largest cable and satellite TV providers — such as Shaw Communications (TSX:SJR.B), Rogers Communications (TSX:RCI.B) and regional telecom MTS Allstream (TSX:MBT) — have urged the CRTC to reject mandatory-carriage applications from Sun News and other networks.

The providers say costs would increase if the CRTC forces them to add channels to their basic cable and satellite packages.

CRTC chair Jean-Pierre Blais has said the bar for being granted mandatory carriage is set “very high.” However, he also indicated the commission is approaching the hearings with an open mind.

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Sun News to CRTC: No guaranteed spot on the dial, no more network

  1. I am ready for the SUN to set on this and for them to become a footnote in Canadian broadcasting,

  2. I’m actually in favor of a must offer designation.
    Let SUN compete fairly for coverage across the nation just to shut up the whiners who are saying it’s not being given a fair shot.

    What’s interesting to me is Kory acknowledging that even with a fair shot, it wouldn’t be able to compete.

    • That would put them at a disadvantage over the state-owned CBC…if Sun News is must-offer, than so should CBC and CTV.

      • Yes. State-owned CBC.. answerable to the state and the voters. You want to put Sun under that rubric as well? I’m fine with that.

        • CBC is answerable to the voters?
          Try an access to information request sometime, the CBC stonewalls them all.

  3. I recently realized that Sun News continues to be available in our household (on Shaw satellite), long after I assumed it had been offered for a limited introductory period only. If I’m paying for it, I certainly didn’t knowingly subscribe.

    I gave it a look when it was first launched but never re-visited and quickly forgot about it because, aside its evident indifference to the distinction between fact-based news and propaganda opinion, the production values were primitive, even in the ads. It looked like some teenagers were producing it out of their mom’s basement.

    Having said that, I agree with Thwim. Give Sun their short-lived day in the sun. Otherwise, cons everywhere will be bleating about suppression of their point of view.

  4. Pravda (CBC), TASS News Agency (CTV) have theirs the playing field should be level, Oh and Pravda gets $1.5 B from taxpayers……..

    • CBC as Pravda, that’s a good one! If it were really Pravda, the Cons would be doubling that 1.5 B. That’s a problem with Con-speak…it has difficulty not being self-contradictory.

  5. I don’t think Sun News will survive long-term, with or without mandatory carriage. That’s become more obvious through this hearing.

  6. Oh yea almost forgot how much is Macleans getting from the government???

  7. But if Stephen Harper hasn’t had time to replace most of the people on the CRTC who were appointed by Trudeau, Turner, and Chretien, and who are committed to Canadian content as a holy ideal and so on, with people who are Conservatives – then no more Sun News Network is not a threat to them, it’s a promise!

    • Sun has a higher percentage of Canadian content than CTV or CBC…..

  8. Sun News is not about news, it’s about opinionated bias in favor of conservatism. The Quebec news station hates the NDP and Liberals. It’s obvious in their rhetorical, opinionated, condescending reporting. I get the station already through Shaw cable, whether I want it or not.

  9. Nah Nah Nah, Nah Nah Nah, Hey Hey Hey Goodbye!!

  10. CBC and CTV can’t compete without must carry and huge subsidies.

    Either give Sun the same treatment, or cut the must carry licenses and subsidies to the rest of the media.

  11. I have no cable, got tired of paying for crap channels I don’t want…this would just be another. The only way SunNews will get carriage to me is for free OTA…which I think used to be a requirement to get mandatory carriage in cable as well.