Quebecor to launch 24-hour news channel

Sun TV News will not broadcast the usual, 'politically correct' journalism, Quebecor claims. But is there need for another national news channel? Mindshare's DaSilva weighs in.

Accusing Canada’s leading news networks of being elitist and complacent, Quebecor Media executives yesterday announced that Quebecor, in partnership with TVA Group and Sun Media Corporation, will launch a 24-hour English news channel called Sun TV News.

‘CBC News Network and CTV News Channel have had respectively 21 and 13 years to get it right and they’ve failed to win over viewers. Canadian TV news today is narrow, complacent and politically correct,’ said Kory Teneycke, VP, development, Quebecor Media, in a release.

Sun TV News will cover ‘hard news’ during the day and turn to a mixture of opinion journalism at night, placing emphasis on the anchors’ personalities. ‘This will not be another network catering to elite opinion and ignoring stories important to many Canadians,’ Teneycke, who is the former director of communications for Stephen Harper’s office, said.

But this format may not be enough to set Sun TV News apart from other news programs in a crowded market, Robert DaSilva, managing director, exchange, Mindshare Canada, tells MiC. ‘If this is providing a different angle, then maybe there is a need for it. But I don’t know how radical they’re going to be.’

News stations are a safe place for a buyer to go, and they usually perform well across all demos, he adds. And while Canadians love to stay informed, a lot of local programming was cut during the recession.

‘This could potentially fill in some of that void for news programming, however when you take it up to a bigger level – how many national news carriers do we need?’ says DaSilva.

The network could launch as early as next January, and as a Category 1 specialty channel it would be available to cable subscribers. It is, however, still pending CRTC approval of the application, which was filed on June 1 and is currently under review.

A similar ‘hard news/straight talk’ formula was adopted by French-language news channel LCN years ago, and has since seen its ratings triple, according to Quebecor.