Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Sun News request to CRTC spurs broad media opposition

The Globe and Mail's Steve Ladurantaye reports that a fight is brewing in Canada’s television news industry as the CBC and cable, satellite and IPTV (Internet protocol television) companies bristle at changes they say could keep Sun News Network on the air at their expense.
The CRTC is reconsidering how Canadian television news channels are offered to consumers, to address complaints by Sun News that existing arrangements offer no way to increase carriage fees from the cable and satellite companies that bring its signal into Canadian homes. The regulator aims to bring in new rules by the end of the year.
The CBC is against any changes, arguing that they are “not in the public interest.”
“It would make no sense to disadvantage one Canadian news service to enhance the position of another,” the CBC wrote in a submission to the CRTC, which said it would consider submissions and decide whether to make changes by the new year.
Among the changes under consideration by the regulator is a rule that would make every Canadian news channel available to every Canadian subscriber on an opt-in basis. Sun News is losing about $17-million a year, and says it needs such changes to compete with services such as the long-established CBC News Network and CTV News Channel, which have broad distribution.
Rogers Communications Inc. “does not believe that the proposed framework is necessary or prudent,” the company stated. Shaw Communications Inc. said any changes would “harm consumers and the entire broadcasting system with no benefits, other than a ‘benefit’ to Sun News.”
Bell Media, which owns CTV News Channel, is generally in favour of the changes but also would like to see more specific requirements for news channels receiving prime placement on Canadian television dials.
Link to full Globe story (The Globe has a paywall)

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