CRTC to rule today on Sun News must-carry bid
Sun News Network will find out Thursday whether it will get its coveted guaranteed spot on the television dial.
The Quebecor-owned network is seeking what is known as mandatory carriage from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission.
If the CRTC grants the broadcaster's application, cable and satellite providers would have to include the channel as part of their basic TV packages.
Some at the CRTC hearings have suggested a "must-offer" designation — rather than mandatory carriage — would suffice for Sun News. Such a designation would only compel cable and satellite companies to make Sun News available to their customers, who could then choose whether or not to subscribe.
But Sun News executive Kory Teneycke told the CRTC in May that anything short of mandatory carriage would spell the end of the channel.
"Let us be very clear: a 'must-offer' licence would not have a meaningful impact on the current trajectory of Sun News and would inevitably lead to the closure of the station," Teneycke said at the time.
"Let me repeat: a 'must-offer' licence would be a death sentence."
Mandatory carriage would generate significant revenue for the network, which says it would earn 18 cents a month from every household that subscribes to a basic cable or satellite package.
That would help offset the network's losses, which were $17 million in 2012 — a situation that Quebecor (TSX:QBR.B) calls "clearly unsustainable."
The CRTC is expected to release its decision on Sun News on Thursday at 11 a.m. ET.