DAILY NEWS Jan 23, 2013 8:05 AM - 3 comments

SUN TV Wants In as CRTC Reviews 'Mandatory Distribution' Rules

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Canada’s broadcast and telecom regulator will hold hearings this year on mandatory carriage, and it will determine whether some TV services should get a more profitable position on the TV dial and whether some might lose that designation.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC, or the Commission) has announced hearings in April, and it's calling for submissions and comments about various applications it has received asking for mandatory distribution on cable and satellite distribution systems (under section 9(1)(h) of the Broadcasting Act), as well as applications for the licence renewal of independent conventional, pay and specialty television services.

The CRTC says it will look at applications by new and existing programming services for the mandatory distribution of their services as part of the basic service of all Canadian cable and satellite providers.

The Commission says it wants to assess whether such services would or should benefit from a fixed carriage deal putting them in more widely accessible regions of the cable or satellite channel line-up. The CRTC will also examine the overall renewal of the licences, as required.

Some of the TV services currently designated for mandatory carriage include Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, Cable Public Affairs Channel (CPAC) and The Weather Network. CBC News Network gets the mandatory carriage designation in French markets, while RDI has it in French-language markets.

Among the TV and specialty channels seeking mandatory carriage are SUN TV, the Quebecor-owned news outlet; EqualiTV, a new service for disabled Canadians; multi-lingual services such as the CBC-run French service ARTV and Canadian Punjabi TV; and Stornoway’s Fusion TV.

Mandatory carriage is the main way operators can get more predictable revenues and profitable operations, based on greater availability, broader access and increased subscription fees from subscribers.

Such fees are paid by Canada’s cable and satellite providers, and it is up to the individual broadcast distribution undertaking (BDU) to determine how such fees are handled, absorbed or passed along to customers.

SUN TV, for example, is seeking a subscription fee of $0.18/month per subscriber ($0.09/month for French language households). In its application and supporting documentation, financial predictions show a twenty five cent ($0.25) rate per subscriber in English Canada by 2019.

The Commission will hold the hearing beginning on April 23, 2013 in Gatineau, QC .

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Reader Comments

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In 2010 during the launch of Sun TV, Kory Teneycke, their vice president and former director of communications for Stephen Harper said this in his Sun column entitled Atwood's U.S. Sellout.

"The final lie most of the media stories, petitions and general ankle-biting from our competitors promote is about money. Sun TV News is not, nor has it ever, asked for "mandatory carriage" by cable or satellite companies.

As the critics correctly point out, this would be tantamount to a tax on everyone with cable or satellite service." end quote

The free market Sun should be the last ones asking for a tax on viewers.

Posted January 28, 2013 06:56 AM


"Mandatory carriage" is nothing more than a licence to steal. If operators want " more predictable revenues and profitable operations" do what the majority of other businesses do - earn them. The first politician to stand up and say "Enough - let the consumer determine what services they wish to receive and are willing to pay for", would be anointed like a god by a frustrated public.

Posted January 28, 2013 06:55 AM

tim gueguen

Perhaps Sun would have more viewers if they spent some money on TV advertising. I've never seen an ad for Sun on TV, even in the period before and just after they hit the air. Perhaps Quebecor assumed that the readership of the Sun newspapers would flock to the channel, and help spread the word to those who don't read them.

Posted January 24, 2013 03:41 PM

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