Good commentary from Terry Field on Sun News trying to get on basic cable in a new CRTC proceeding.
Three things going on here. The first is political. Sun News thinks it represents a mainstream part of Canadian opinion and deserves to be on basic. The system thinks it is a bunch of right wing kooks and they should feel lucky that they are on at all. I heard an all-woman panel on French CBC ripping into Sun’s alleged Babe news anchor selections, then into Sun = Fox (and we all know how evil they are) and similar assessment of its content.
Personally I find Sun News repetitive and sometimes amateurish from a production standpoint, but that is common in a lot of new concepts until they find what works and what doesn’t. Bits and pieces are informative and occasionally fun. In small doses it is ok. Remember early Global? It was awful. I hope Sun News gets time to develop into great new channel from right of centre providing much needed balance in the overall system.
The second thing is packaging. Packaging is done everywhere including the U.S.A. Terry is on the mark when writes about viewers taking the top tier so they don’t have to decipher the system. The change, of course, from the old days is that our particular form of packaging is an historical relic which provides Quebecor a good target to shoot at. You can also rest assured that if the Commission mandated offering a pure pick and pay option it would not come to market much cheaper.
Finally, as Terry points out, Quebecor applied for the licence they have, fully understanding the rules, so they are unlikely to win this one and are better off arguing to change the packaging rules more quickly. To use the Global example again, however, Global could not meet the conditions of its new licence licence back in the seventies but since it was up and running the CRTC rescued it and eased up. Sometimes the excuse works.