Bluepoint Investments to acquire SCN

The mediaco is set to take over the Saskatchewan channel's assets and operations from the provincial government, changing its format to a mix of commercial and educational programming.

Bluepoint Investments is expanding its media sights westward with the purchase of Saskatchewan television and satellite educational channel Saskatchewan Communications Network (SCN).

The mediaco, headed by former Aegis Media chairman Bruce Claassen, has finalized a deal to purchase SCN from the provincial government in a deal worth $700,000. Pending CRTC approval of the change in ownership – and the transfer of the broadcast licence – Bluepoint will take over the assets and operations of the channel and assume financial responsibility for it while the deal is under review.

While SCN was formerly a commercial-free educational content provider, Bluepoint plans to move the channel toward a mix of educational and commercial content in a model similar to that which was pioneered by CTV’s Access Alberta, Claassen says. Although he says it’s too early to comment on a specific programming grid, the scope of programs offered by the channel is set to expand under the new ownership, with the goal of getting more Saskatchewanians to tune in.

‘As we stated in our terms of agreement, [programming] will be drawn from around the world. It won’t be mud wrestling from Vegas – I don’t think – but it’s going to be various programming from around the world that we think is going to do two fundamental things. One of those things is to be able to draw a larger audience to the station than is currently being drawn, which I think is beneficial to the government and the people of Saskatchewan, and secondly make it commercially viable so that we can return on our investment.’

Bluepoint has also committed to continuing SCN’s support of local programming – a point that Claassen thinks helped them win the bidding process for the channel – and will keep the financial status quo, which he said is between $1.5 to $1.7 million.

‘We’ve said that we’re going to sustain that commitment, we don’t see any difficulty in doing that. We think that it fits within our business model and I think that the government liked that.’