Canada
Sun News Network pushing to expand reach

Credits: MICHAEL PEAKE/Toronto Sun

QMI AGENCY

OTTAWA - Sun News Network has made what it calls a "do or die" application to the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to be put on basic cable, just like its main competitors.

"We are asking for the same type of licence that CTV and CBC had for 13 and 21 years respectively for their news channels," said Kory Teneycke, vice-president of Sun News.

"We think this is a reasonable request and that it is in the interests of all Canadians."

Teneycke said Sun News is only available in four out of 10 households right now, with some cable companies not carrying the channel at all.

"This is not right," he said. "Especially when these same cable providers are offering American cable news channels as a part of their basic package."

Sun News produces 96 hours per week of pure Canadian content.

If the CRTC grants Sun News the "mandatory distribution" it seeks, it would mean a financial boon for the channel.

Sun News wants the CRTC to set the fee for its signal at 18 cents per English subscriber, considerably less than the 63 cents per subscriber cable companies shell out for the CBC News Network.

There are 15 channels, including Sun News, asking the CRTC for mandatory distribution, along with six others seeking to have that status renewed.

Commissioners have set Feb. 20 as the deadline for public submissions on the applications, with a public hearing scheduled for April 23 in Gatineau, Que.

Sun News is jointly owned by TVA Group Inc. and Sun Media Corp.

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