Quebecor yanks Sun News Network from Bell TV

A dispute over carriage fees sees Quebecor take to Facebook and Bell replace Sun News Network programming with a channel-has-been-removed message.

Quebecor Media has yanked its upstart Sun News Network from Bell TV, before launching a Facebook campaign to get Bell satellite TV customers to demand that a carriage agreement be reached to get the upstart all-news channel back on air.

Quebecor Media said it has inked agreements with rival cable and satellite carriers since launching Sun News Network on April 18.

But a deal with Bell TV has eluded the Quebec media giant.

‘As it would be unfair to our paying customers for Bell to continue to offer the station without a fair agreement between our two companies, we have asked them to suspend broadcasting the signal,’ Quebecor added in the Facebook statement.

Bell TV agreed and from 10 a.m. Tuesday morning replaced the Sun News Network feed with a bare screen indicating the specialty channel ‘has been taken down at the request of the owners of Sun News.’

Quebecor last year failed to convince the CRTC to agree to convert Sun TV, the former Toronto over-the-air TV station, into Sun News Network with mandatory carriage.

The upstart all-news channel has instead had to negotiate carriage agreements with domestic cable and satellite TV services.

Quebecor insisted self-dealing by Bell TV was at the root of the carriage fee dispute.

‘It should be noted that Sun News is seeking lower subscription fees than CTV News Channel, the Business News Network and CP24. As Bell owns these channels, it obviously gives themselves an undue advantage,’ Quebecor said on its Facebook page.

At the same time, Sun News Network has posted low audience numbers out of the gate, compared to the incumbent CTV News Channel and CBC News Network, prompting speculation Quebecor is demanding too high a subscriber fee from Bell TV.

From Playback Daily