CRTC approves sale of SCN to Rogers

The federal government has approved Rogers Broadcasting's $3-million bid to buy Saskatchewan's television channel SCN — and has changed the rules on how much it will have to spend on local programming.

The federal government has approved Rogers Broadcasting's $3-million bid to buy Saskatchewan's television channel SCN — and has changed the rules on how much it will have to spend on local programming.

SCN, which stands for Saskatchewan Communications Network, was originally owned by the provincial government as an educational channel, but the government sold it off to an investment company, Bluepoint Investment Inc.

The Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission allowed Bluepoint to begin showing commercial programming and running ads, but under the terms of its licence, it was required to spend $1.75 million per year on independent Saskatchewan production and $1 million per year on digital production in Saskatchewan.

In its CRTC application, Rogers asked to be relieved of that requirement, saying it couldn't afford it.

According to today's CRTC decision, the regulator has agreed to change the terms. Instead of $1.75 million, it has told Rogers it must to spend 23 per cent of its annual gross revenue buying programs from independent producers in Saskatchewan.

It must still spend an additional $1 million on independent production in Saskatchewan over the course of the licence term, which runs until August 31, 2018.

Rogers will also support the creation of digital media by directing $300,000 to the Rogers Digital Development Fund, the CRTC said.