Sun News Network shuts down, costing 100 jobs

The 24/7 TV channel went off the air early Friday morning after failing to secure mandatory cable carriage in 2013 and, more recently, a new buyer.
Copied from Playback - Copied from Media in Canada - Copied from Playback - Copied from Media in Canada - Copied from Playback - Copied from Media in Canada - Copied from Playback - Copied from Media in Canada - Copied from Playback - Copied from Media in Canada - Copied from Playback - Copied from Media in Canada - Copied from Playback - Copied from Media in Canada - Copied from Playback - red tv

Quebecor Media has shuttered Sun News Network after the loss-making news channel failed to secure mandatory carriage from the CRTC or a new buyer.

The 24/7 news channel, which launched in 2011, went off the air at 5 a.m. on Friday morning, being replaced with a sole Sun News Network logo.

“This is an unfortunate outcome; shutting down Sun News was certainly not our goal,” Julie Tremblay, president and CEO of Media Group and Sun Media Corp., said in a statement on Friday.

“Over the past four years, we tried everything we could to achieve sufficient market penetration to generate the profits needed to operate a national news channel. Sadly, the numerous obstacles to carriage that we encountered spelled the end of this venture,” she added.

Sun News spokesperson Veronique Mercier confirmed this morning to Playback and Media in Canada that 100 jobs would be eliminated as a result of the closure; earlier media reports in the day had job losses pegged at 200.

Quebecor Media in 2013 asked and failed to secure from the CRTC a mandatory carriage licence on all analog and digital basic service in Canada for five years to help it keep pace with established news channels at rivals CBC and CTV.

The unsuccessful search for a buyer for Sun News gained pace in October 2014 when newspaper publisher Postmedia bought the Toronto Sun and 175 other English-language newspapers, which provided a key source of news and pundits to the all-news channel.

The 24/7 news channel, which aimed at an older 25-to-54 demo, was not part of the Postmedia deal. Late last year, there was speculation that Zoomer Media was interested in acquiring the struggling channel.

Sun News had posted a loss each year over the past three years, according to numbers from the CRTC. In 2013 it lost $14.7 million dollars, and had 4.9 million subscribers.

From Playback Daily, with files from Val Maloney