An Application to the CRTC on behalf of Sun News Network
May 30, 2012
Sun News Network produces
hours / week
of original Canadian television content
Table Of Contents
1. Introduction ........................................................................... 1
2. Proudly Canadian ................................................................. 3
3. Canadians Want More Voices .............................................. 4
4. Carriage Chaos ..................................................................... 6
5. Location Matters ................................................................... 8
6. Seeing Is Believing .............................................................. 10
7. Distribution + Dial Position = Ratings ................................. 12
8. Fair Is Fair ............................................................................ 14
9. Strong Role For The CRTC................................................. 16
10. Financial Considerations .................................................... 18
11. Sun News Meets All Criteria ............................................... 19
12. Our Ask ............................................................................... 20
13. About Us ............................................................................. 21
“The theory of the free press
is not that the truth will be
presented completely or
perfectly in any one instance,
but that the truth will emerge
from free discussion.”
- Walter Lipmann
1.1 In July 2010, Groupe TVA and Sun Media made 1.7 In our initial application, we requested mandatory
an application to the CRTC for a license for a distribution for Sun News for a period of three
new English language national news specialty years.
service – Sun TV News.
1.8 This was in recognition that the all-news market
1.2 In that application we stated our intent to: that we were launching into was a mature
market. Moreover, our competitors had enjoyed
i Produce and broadcast 100% highly preferential rules compared to the rules
Canadian television. we were being asked to operate under. CTV
News Channel and CBC News Network had
ii Cover stories and issues ignored by enjoyed mandatory distribution, preferential dial
others in the Canadian news media. placement and mandated subscription fees for
13 and 21 years respectively.
iii Broaden the range of opinion in the
1.9 Sun News on the other hand, is distributed like
a third-rate foreign news service – available in
1.3 After one year on air, we have delivered on these only 4 out of 10 households with major BDUs like
commitments in spades. Telus and MTS not even offering it. This situation
1.4 We are a Canadian content powerhouse. Not
including elections and other news specials, we 1.10 The CRTC indicated it was not considering
produce 96 hours/week of Canadian content. mandatory distribution for any channels at the
Our news is of, by and for the Canadian people. time of our initial application, but would have
a process opening in 2012 under which such
1.5 We are punching above our weight when it requests would be considered. (Broadcasting
comes to news - whether it is breaking stories Regulatory Policy CRTC 2010-629)
about wanted war criminals roaming our streets,
being the exclusive broadcaster of the Trudeau/ 1.11 It is through this process that Sun News is
Brazeau Fight for the Cure, or by being the applying for mandatory distribution
only national cable news network to have live on analog and digital basic service in
coverage of election nights in Saskatchewan Canada.
1.6 Gone are the days of boring talking heads
and tired talking points. Debate on Sun News
has lived up to its promise of being raw and
edgy. Love them or hate them, our hosts and
commentators swing for the fences every night.
Host of Right Now
Eight in ten Canadians, surveyed by Abacus Data, agreed that “all Canadians
should have access to every Canadian cable all-news channel.”
Fig 5.0. p 19. Cable News and the Cable and Satellite Industry. Abacus Data Inc. 2012 A B A C U S DAT A
2. Proudly Canadian
2.1 Sun News is 100% Canadian (and proud of it). 2.3 Sun News produces more Canadian content
Not only is our content Canadian, but so is our than almost any other network in the Canadian
ownership. More than any other private network, specialty service universe. (Figure 2.2)
our parent companies TVA and Quebecor have
2.4 As proud Canadians, we agree with the CRTC
been on the forefront of producing original,
that Canadian content matters. That Canadian
Canadian television. Moreover, LCN produces
news – of, by and for Canadians – needs to have
98 hours of original Canadian news
a place at the centre of our television landscape.
programming every week.
2.5 And so do Canadians. (Figure 2.1).
2.2 And Sun News contributes to that strong
tradition. We are producing 11 unique shows
that offer 96 hours/week of original television
programming – every second of it Canadian.
Sun News is a Canadian Content Powerhouse
FIGURE 2.2: ESTIMATED WEEKLY HOURS OF CANADIAN CONTENT BY NETWORK
Hours of originally produced Canadian content per week
more than Oprah!
2.5 4.5 7
BRAVO OUT OWN DISCOVERY APTN SUN
Based on website and program guide analysis for the week of May 14, 2012. First-run programming only.
CANADA IS 3. Canadians Want More Voices
DOMINATED 3.1 Since before its launch, Sun News has promised to
BY A FEW shake up the media consensus - to bring to the forefront
new voices and views that are often ignored by others.
VOICES WHO We believe our programming has lived up to that
ALL THINK 3.2 Our desire for more diversity in Canadian media is
ALIKE. shared by the public. A large majority of Canadians
believe the media is dominated by a few voices that all
think alike (Figure 3.1). And an overwhelming majority
wants to see more voices in the media1.
3.3 This desire by Canadians for more voices confirms
57% Walter Lippman’s famous observation that: “The theory
of the free press is not that the truth will be presented
completely or perfectly in any one instance, but that the
truth will emerge from free discussion.”
57% OF CANADIANS AGREE 3.4 It is our belief that no single media source, or news
channel, will ever be able to perfectly reflect the views
and news interests of a country as diverse as Canada.
And Sun News is improving our media by adding to its
diversity and ensuring stories ignored by other media
23% outlets are given fair voice.
1. p 5. Cable News and the Cable and Satellite Industry. Abacus Data Inc. 2012 A B A C U S DATA
A B A C U S DATA
23% OF CANADIANS DISAGREE
Fig 2.0. p 5. Cable News and the Cable and Satellite
Industry. Abacus Data Inc. 2012 A B A C U S DATA
Alex Pierson, Co-Host of AM Agenda,
interviews Jack Layton and Olivia Chow on Sun News
Ensure that prime time television in French and in English is
written, directed, stars, and is about Canada and Canadians.
Jack Layton on the role of the CRTC
NDP.CA - http://www.ndp.ca/press/layton-will-restore-funding-arts
CANADIAN HOUSEHOLDS SUN NEWS IS ONLY IN 4 OF 10 CANADIAN HOUSEHOLDS
11.6 Million 6.7 Million 5.1 Million
TOTAL MARKET SUN ON ANALOG SUN TODAY
(CBC’S NEWS CHANNEL
& FREE PREVIEW
4. Carriage Chaos
4.1 Despite this strong thirst for news alternatives in their own all-news channel (City News Channel).
the market, Sun News has encountered enormous Ironically, the ratings for City News Channel are
resistance from Canadian cable and satellite significantly less than those Sun News was getting
providers when it comes to making the channel when it occupied that dial placement. (Figure 4.2)
available to Canadians. In fact, Sun News is only
4.3 While Sun News has chosen not to pursue an
available in 4 out of 10 households. (Figure 4.1)
“undue preference” complaint against Rogers for
4.2 What is even more concerning is distribution has this action, it speaks strongly to the challenges
declined since its launch. Until October 2011, Sun we have faced when dealing with major Canadian
News was still operating its over the air broadcast cable and satellite providers.
towers in Ontario, which compelled Rogers,
4.4 Even more surprising, BDUs like MTS and Telus
Bell Fibe and Cogeco to carry Sun News on
are not offering Sun News at all! In case you were
analog digital basic cable service in most Ontario
wondering, both Telus and MTS offer Al Jazeera,
markets. Since shutting down our towers, Rogers
BBC World News and other foreign
has replaced Sun News on Channel 15 with
Host of Canada Live
SUN NEWS PERFORMS BETTER THAN CITY NEWS CHANNEL IN ONTARIO
Average Minute Audience
APR 18, 2011 -
OCT 31, 2011
OCT 31, 2011 -
DEC 31, 2011
SOURCE: BBM: AMA, 2+, M - F, 5PM - 11PM, Ontario
5. Location Matters
5.1 Where Sun News is offered, it is often done so
in a manner which makes marketing the channel
particularly difficult. For instance there are three
different channel locations for Shaw customers
depending on which service they have signed up for.
NATIONAL VARIATIONS IN SUN NEWS CHANNEL PLACEMENT
“In Ontario, awareness of the Sun News network was 57%
overall but higher in Ottawa (60%), Toronto (59%), and
in the Greater Toronto Area (61%) than in the rest of the
Abacus Report, pg. 33
SUN NEWS REGIONAL AWARENESS IS GREATEST IN FORMER ANALOG MARKETS
2 to 3 ews
Awareness Sun N
r where ribution!
greate og dist
ha d anal
Fig 6.1. p 28. Cable News and the Cable and Satellite Industry. Abacus Data Inc. 2012 A B A C U S D AT A
6. Seeing Is Believing
6.1 We are proud to be following in the footsteps of
Canadian broadcasting legends like Moses Znaimer
by offering viewers radically different approaches to
news television. Our hard news and straight talk is a
huge departure from the safe, traditional approach
to news taken by our competition.
6.2 While Sun News is not for everyone, it is for many
of the Canadians that are frustrated with the lack of
diversity in the current news options.
6.3 Our research shows that seeing is believing. Once
these discontent news viewers have been exposed
to our approach to news, they like it. Ezra Levant, Host of The Source
SUN NEWS VIEWER DEMOGRAPHICS
“Despite being in
Demographic Group Sun News Viewership the typical Sun News
most focus group
participants had never
heard of the Sun News
18 to 29 9% Network prior to the
focus group session.
30 to 44 21% When shown three
clips from various
45 to 59 39% prime time programs,
almost all said they
60 and over 31% would watch Sun
News if they could get
Income less than $50k 39% access to it.”
Income $50k to $100k 40% p 30. Cable News and the Cable and Satellite
Industry. Abacus Data Inc. 2012 A B A C U S D AT A
Income over $100k 21%
ly analo r s!
Like t ome
Low Income Seniors 12%
Table 6.0. p 29. Cable News and the Cable and Satellite Industry. Abacus Data Inc. 2012 A B A C U S D AT A
Much of Sun News’ audience is lower income,
and is heavily oriented to elderly Canadians on
fixed incomes. These viewers are more likely to
be analog cable subscribers for reasons of cost
and resistance to new technology.
Host of Byline
7. Distribution + Dial Position = Ratings
7.1 When you look at Sun News ratings over its first year, it FIGURE 7.1:
is easy to see the effect that distribution and dial position NATIONAL NETWORK AWARENESS
have on ratings performance.
7.2 When Sun News went from 6.7 million households to 96%
5.1 million households it had a dramatic, negative effect 89%
on ratings, because the channel was no longer carried
on analog and digital basic service. They went from an
average of 27,400 before to 13,000 after (Figure 7.2) 2+
prime-time from launch until December 31, 2011.
7.3 The move from Channel 15 on Rogers to Channel 142
had a particularly negative impact.
7.4 None of this is surprising. You can’t watch a channel you
don’t get, and you are less likely to watch a channel that
is in the stratosphere than one that is lower on the dial.
7.5 With all of this in mind, it is not a mystery that Sun News
is not well known in the market place. Just over one in
three Canadians have even heard of Sun News. Less
than half that number has watched. Fig 6.0. p 27. Cable News and the Cable and Satellite Industry. Abacus
Data Inc. 2012 A B A C U S D AT A
DECLINE OF SUN NEWS AUDIENCE AFTER LOSS OF ANALOG SIGNAL
Sun News Network Weekly Audience
Apr 18 2011 - Oct 31 2011 Jan 2012 - May 2012
BBM, 2+, 5P - 11P M-F
8. Fair Is Fair
8.1 None of these challenges existed for Sun News’ 8.4 When it comes to the amount BDUs pay for Canadian
competitors when they launched. When CBC cable news services, a further discrepancy exists.
Newsworld was granted a license in 1987, it was given Cable and satellite providers paid CBC Newsworld
mandatory distribution in every Canadian household, $0.63/month per subscriber. It is worth noting the
and dial placement that was superior to that of its main CBC amount was over and above the existing taxpayer
competitor, the American news channel CNN. CTV subsidies paid to the state broadcaster.
News Channel had similar advantages when it launched
8.2 This preferential treatment continued for 21-years BDU CARRIAGE FEES
for CBC News Network and 13-years for CTV News
Channel. That was the decision of the CRTC at the
time, and it was the right decision. Without ensuring
access to the market, cable news in Canada would have
continued to be dominated by American news channels.
8.3 The challenges of launching a new Canadian cable
news channel have evolved, but they have not
diminished over the years. A larger television universe
means Canadian channels need to compete with a host
of foreign news channels – Fox News, MSNBC, HLN,
Bloomberg, CNBC, BBC World News, etc. CBC NEWS NETWORK SUN NEWS NETWORK
THE CANADIAN ALL NEWS LANDSCAPE
When CBC Newsworld was granted a licence in 1987
the CRTC cited the need to maintain our
“Information sovereignty”. That need continues today.
Decision CRTC 87-904
Do you think that new Canadian television all-news channels should
be given a similar advantage to allow them to compete with CBC News
and CTV News?
Fig. 5.7 p 25. Cable News and the Cable and Satellite Industry. Abacus Data Inc. 2012 A B A C U S D AT A
9. Strong Role For The CRTC
9.1 The challenges of launching new Canadian channels 9.4 In the past the CRTC has not only demonstrated
has not diminished, nor has the important role the CRTC steadfast support for original Canadian content, but in
plays in ensuring Canadian content finds a place on ensuring new Canadian entrants have an opportunity
Canadian television. As Pierre Juneau said: “Canadian to enter the market – thus enhancing choice and
broadcasting should be Canadian.” competition. The most recent example would be the
Canadian Government`s decision to reserve a portion of
9.2 While the CRTC does not rule on the basis of public the wireless spectrum for “new entrants” to the market.
opinion, it is worth noting there is strong public support
for the Commission’s core mandate of ensuring original 9.5 A lot has changed since 1987 when the CRTC granted a
Canadian programming does not get sidelined license to CBC Newsworld with mandatory distribution.
(Figure 9.1). The cable news market today is crowded with foreign
cable news channels – particularly American news
9.3 Opinion research also demonstrates the public is channels.
skeptical about Cable and Satellite providers when it
comes to offering a choice of channels (Figure 9.2). 9.6 The one thing that has not changed is the importance
that Canadian news channels be made available to ALL
How important is the CRTC in ensuring Canadian cable and satellite
subscribers have access to Canadian television programming?
51% 36% 7% 3% 3%
Very Important Somewhat Important
Not that important Not at all important Unsure
Fig. 4.0 p 13. Cable News and the Cable and Satellite Industry. Abacus Data Inc. 2012 A B A C U S D AT A
Which of the following statements describes the cable and satellite
television Industry in Canada?
It is an uncompetitive market where a It is a highly competitive market
few companies can limit choice and giving consumers like you choice
charge high prices to consumers. and fair prices.
71 % 18 %
Fig. 3.0 p 11. Cable News and the Cable and Satellite Industry. Abacus Data Inc. 2012 A B A C U S D AT A
10. Financial Considerations
10.1 The business model for Sun News is similar to that the anglophone market has been $0.63/month per
of other all-news channels. Approximately 72% subscriber.
of our expenses are directly related to the cost of
10.4 While it is an amount less than 1/3 what CBC
producing 96 hours/week of original television content
Newsworld was granted, we believe Sun News can
– everything from salaries for news coverage across
be financially viable with mandatory distribution to all
the country to technical production staff and the cost
analog and digital households with a distribution fee
of operating our studios. Our revenues come from two
of $0.18/month per subscriber.
sources: distribution fees paid by cable and satellite
providers (BDUs) and advertising revenues. 10.5 Sun News, and its parent companies, will continue
to assume a great deal of risk in this project. Our
10.2 The current distribution agreements Sun News has
projections show that if we are able to achieve
with cable and satellite providers are inadequate
our aggressive advertising goals, Sun News will
to support the channel, both in terms of price
generate a modest operating margin of 2.9% in 2014,
and penetration rate (only offered in 4 out of 10
increasing to just over 9 % in 2017 (year five). Due to
households). Additionally, the distribution challenges
the large capital investments needed to start up a new
also negatively impact advertising revenues. As a
television network, we would not achieve a positive
result we project an operating loss of $17 million in
net income until 2020 (year 7).
2012, with further losses going forward. This is clearly
unsustainable. 10.6 Should the cable and satellite providers choose to
pass the full cost of Sun News to their customers,
10.3 Should Sun News be successful in obtaining a
the financial impact on the basic service would be
mandatory distribution order, the CRTC would be
negligible – only $2.16/year per household.*
responsible for setting the distribution fees paid
by cable and satellite providers. For instance: in
*The cost would be $1.08/year per
the past the distribution fee for CBC Newsworld in
New Canadian all-news channels should get the same advantages that
channels before them received in terms of placement on the dial and
Fig. 5.0 p 19. Cable News and the Cable and Satellite Industry. Abacus Data Inc. 2012 A B A C U S D AT A
11. Sun News Meets All Criteria
11.1 Sun News actively and enthusiastically contributes to promote the multicultural, multiracial nature of
to the goals laid out in the Broadcasting Act. Canadian society and the special place of aboriginal
Perhaps the most important demonstration of this is peoples within that society.
the sheer volume of original Canadian broadcasting
11.5 As a subsidiary of Quebec’s largest media
we are producing – 96 hours per week.
company, we appreciate the importance of
11.2 We “serve, safeguard, enrich and strengthen the Canada’s linguistic duality. In fact we live it every
political, social, cultural and economic fabric of day as we work with our colleagues in TVA and
Canada” by offering voice to a wide range of views Quebecor Media to share stories with our audience
– from Ezra Levant to Warren Kinsella and every from coast to coast and in both official languages.
point of view in between!
11.6 And we celebrate the values that make Canada
11.3 In addition we are among Canada’s most outspoken great. Not just those laid out in the Broadcasting
advocates for freedom of speech, which helps to Act, but others that go beyond that; such as:
ensure every point of view has an opportunity to hard work, patriotism, strong families and healthy
be shared, regardless of fashion or controversy. communities.
We believe free speech and a free, diverse media
are the foundation on which a stable, vibrant
democracy is built.
11.4 We are all about Canadian points of view. Our
programming highlights the best of Canadian talent
with hosts, commentators and contributors that
reflect the diversity of this great country – be it
by gender, race, region or religion. We are proud
As Pierre Juneau said:
should be Canadian.”
12. Our Ask
12.1 In keeping with its proud history, we 12.3 i Canadian TV First
encourage the CRTC to reaffirm its role as
the champion of original Canadian television Virtually no channel on cable today can
content. To this end we request: compete with Sun News when it comes
to generating 100% original Canadian
i. Mandatory distribution of Sun News on all programming. We are making 96 hours/week
analog and digital basic service in Canada, of new content that is of, by and for Canadians.
from January 1, 2013 until December 31, And we are doing it without receiving a dime of
2017. After this five-year period has ended, taxpayer money. Not bad, eh?
Sun News would be treated like other
“Category C” services. ii Fairness
ii. The rate paid to Sun News by Canadian Our plan would allow Sun News to establish an
BDUs would be set at $0.18/month audience under similar rules and regulations
per subscriber. * to those afforded CBC Newsworld and CTV
News Channel for 21 and 13 years respectively.
iii. Distribution in a lower dial placement than We don’t begrudge our competitors in any
American and other foreign news channels. way, we simply want the same rules that they
enjoyed – at least for the next 5-years
12.2 We strongly believe Sun News meets all the
criteria laid out in the commission policy for iii Diversity
channels seeking mandatory distribution
on the basic service. The approach we are Sun News greatly enhances news diversity in
recommending passes other tests as well: Canada. We expand debate, cover different
news stories, and bring new Canadian voices
to our public discourse. And all of that is
healthy for our media and for our democracy.
We also believe our plan is in keeping with the
approach taken by the Canadian Government
in allowing different rules for “new entrants” in
the wireless spectrum auction. The Canadian
Government made the right decision to bring
new wireless players into the market then, and
they would be right now to do the same for
Canadian all-news channels!
CanadianTvFirst.ca *The rate would be $0.09/month for French
13. About Us
13.1 Quebecor Media Inc.is a subsidiary of Quebecor Nurun Inc., is a major interactive technologies and
Inc. (TSX:QBR.A) (TSX:QBR.B), one of Canada’s communications agency with offices in Canada, the
most important holding company operating in the United States, Europe and Asia. Quebecor Media
telecommunications and media businesses. With Inc. is also active in magazine publishing (TVA
more than 16,000 employees, Quebecor Media Publishing Inc.), book publishing and distribution
Inc., through its subsidiary Videotron Ltd., is an (Sogides Group Inc. and CEC Publishing Inc.), the
integrated communications company engaged in production, distribution and retailing of cultural
cable television, interactive multimedia development, products (Archambault Group Inc. and TVA Films),
Internet access services, cable telephone services video game development (BlooBuzzStudios Inc.),
and mobile telephone services. DVD, Blu-ray disc and videogame rental and
retailing (LeSuperClub Vidéotron Ltd), the printing
13.2 Through Sun Media Corporation, Quebecor Media and distribution of regional newspapers and flyers
Inc. is the largest publisher of newspapers in (Quebecor Media Printing Inc. and Quebecor
Canada. It also operates Canoe.ca and its network Media Network Inc.), news content production and
of English and French language Internet properties distribution (QMI Agency), multiplatform advertising
in Canada. In the broadcasting sector, Quebecor solutions (QMI Sales) and the publishing of printed
Media Inc. operates, through TVA Group Inc., the and online directories, through Quebecor Media
number one French language general interest Pages TM.
television network in Québec, a number of specialty
channels and the SUN News English language
channel. Another subsidiary of Quebecor Media Inc.,
SUN NEWS HAS BUREAUS IN