Everything about Industry News, eh?

Link: Sun News Network goes off the air

From James Bradshaw of The Globe and Mail:

Sun News Network has gone dark.

The television station that launched in 2011 promising “hard news and straight talk” went off the air at 5 a.m. Friday morning. No on-air announcement was made as the screen went dark and was replaced moments later with the Sun TV logo.

The closing will mean the loss of 150 full-time jobs and affect about 200 employees and contributors. Continue reading.

Link: Employees believe Sun News about to go dark as sale to Zoomer falls through

From Greg O’Brien of Cartt.ca:

Employees at Sun News believe they are soon to be the recipients of some very hard news. According to several sources, many staffers have become convinced that the last day of operations will be this Friday, February 13th because a deal for the sale of the channel has fallen through.

As first reported by Cartt.ca in December, ZoomerMedia held an exclusive negotiating window with Quebecor Media, the owner of Sun News, to buy the struggling TV channel and it was hoped that the company controlled and run by Moses Znaimer would keep it afloat. Continue reading.

CBC schedule garners record-breaking numbers

From a media release:

CBC-TV is a primetime destination for Canadians this winter season, with a lineup of new and returning hits that continue to deliver strong ratings across all key demographics.With 1.3 million Canadians on average tuning in to watch THE BOOK OF NEGROES miniseries on Tuesday night, new confirmed data shows THE BOOK OF NEGROES debuted to an audience of 1.941 million people. THE NATIONAL also garnered impressive numbers on Tuesday night, with an audience of just over 1 million Canadians tuning in following THE BOOK OF NEGROES.


THE BOOK OF NEGROES premiere captured an audience of 2+AMA of 1.941 million. Confirmed audience data shows that more than 1.9 million Canadians watched the premiere episode of THE BOOK OF NEGROES on Jan. 7, with 1.6 million returning for the second episode the following week

SCHITT’S CREEK premiere captured an audience 2+AMA of 1.581 million, followed by 1.55 million for episode two at 9:30pm on January 13

MURDOCH MYSTERIES returned on Jan. 12 to a 2+AMA of 1.387 million viewers, which was the highest-rated episode of the season

RICK MERCER REPORT captured an audience of 2+AMA of 923,000 upon return on Jan. 13, with 1.109 million viewers tuning in on Jan. 20 — the highest viewership for RMR of the season so far

THE NATIONAL saw an audience of  2+AMA of 1.208 million on Jan. 7 and 1.001 million on Jan. 13, a record number for the 2014/15 season

HEARTLAND consistently garners more than 1 million viewers per episode, bringing in an audience of a 2+AMA of 1.027 million on Jan. 11 and 1.036 million on Jan. 18

THIS HOUR HAS 22 MINUTES secured an audience of  2+AMA of 889,000 on Jan. 13, and 977, 000 on Jan. 20, which was its highest-rated episode since the 2013/14 season

DRAGONS’ DEN continues to capture the attention of Canadians, bringing in an average audience of about 1 million viewers each week

Link: Why the Super Bowl simsub decision is the beginning of the end of the system, and of vertical integration

From Greg O’Brien of Cartt.ca:

Four Canadian broadcasters we talked to, none of whom wanted to go on the record against the CRTC chairman, believe the decision to ban simsub for the Super Bowl is a horrible one and is nothing less than the beginning of the end of simsub altogether – and has now thrown the entire Canadian rights market into panicky flux. “I don’t know how to do deals anymore,” said one broadcaster who spoke frankly about the decision on condition of anonymity. Continue reading.

A not-so-Super CRTC ruling

If I were in charge of the Canadian TV industry … well, I’d likely run it into the ground, but it would be well-meaning. No matter what suggestion for improvement – or defense of the status quo — there’s a chorus to say why it can’t be done, shouldn’t be attempted, is a terrible idea.

It’s not all naysaying. Our homegrown industry often seems like it’s held together with frayed string and a prayer, and one nudge would have it collapsing in a pile at Jean-Pierre Blais’ feet.

The CRTC chairman recently ruled that after 2016, simultaneous substitution — the practice of airing Canadian commercials over the US feed — is banned during the Super Bowl.

Our inability to see American Super Bowl ads is the number one complaint made to the CRTC each year. Seriously? The ruling is several years too late, given the complaints could be addressed with: “Learn how to use your internet browser, people.” The ads are online.

As Kate Taylor of the Globe and Mail pointed out, the commission has not made policy here, it’s made an exception. Ban simsub or don’t ban simsub, but it makes no sense to ban one instance of simsub.

Bell Media tells Cartt.ca that it will lose $20 million for each Super Bowl, and they apparently have the rights through 2019. Some say the money would have gone into Canadian programming — I’m not entirely sure networks ever spend more than they’re legally required to on that, so I’m skeptical, but that data isn’t freely available. In any case, it’s a big hit for a broadcaster to take, particularly when they would have calculated their bid for the game rights with the expectation of that simsub revenue.

I don’t care about football. I’d like to see simsub eliminated entirely (though that declaration will start the chorus of naysayers, who will have legitimate points).

There needs to be a business imperative for a Canadian broadcaster to invest in Canadian programming. No external carrot or stick, but a raison d’etre. The central question I come back to is: why would I care if I have Global or CTV if they air shows I can get on US networks? There are answers, of course. Local news, for one — which I haven’t watched on TV in about 20 years. Not everyone has cable or lives close enough to the border for an over the air antenna to pick up US channels, so for some people, CTV is the only way they can watch the Super Bowl.

But wouldn’t a better answer be because Global and CTV’s business model depends on making content, not rebroadcasting it? I’d like our television regulations to make that model the path of least resistance.

Yet the CRTC’s decision on Super Bowl ads moves us no further to a redefined broadcast system, as they promised to examine. It is as arbitrary as it is punitive. It’s only pro-consumer in the most superficial way, with potentially more cons than pros in the long term. Bell may decide to put the game on TSN, and Canadian broadcasters would be loath to buy the rights after Bell’s contract expires,  leaving those without cable Super Bowl-less … never mind whatever that disproportionate financial hit will do to the one broadcaster the decision affects.

If I were in charge of the Canadian TV industry I might accidentally run it into the ground, but I’d like to think I’d  do it with a logical consistently. With this decision, the CRTC appears to be trying to do it capriciously.