Don’t subsidize SUN TV through cable rate hike

Re: Quebecor wants CRTC to require providers to carry Sun News, Tues. Jan. 22, 2013.

Re: Quebecor wants CRTC to require providers to carry Sun News, Tues. Jan. 22, 2013.

I read with interest that Quebecor and its television network Sun News have suffered unacceptable losses that will continue unless the federal regulator requires cable and satellite companies to carry it on their basic service. Further to that, if the federal regulator forces them to carry the Sun News channel, it will be available to more Canadian households and it will only cost English-speaking Canadian homeowners $2.16 more per month on their basic cable bill (francophones pay only $1.08).

And why is that?

Because Quebecor and Pierre Karl Peledeau (PKP) stand to lose between $18 million and $19 million each year through 2015 and if they can get the CRTC to rule in their favour, not only will the basic cable package increase in price, but Quebecor will now have more households to sell to their advertiser.

If the CRTC rules in their favour, we will actually be subsidizing Quebecor and PKP so they can use us to potentially make even more money on advertising.

Philosophically, the Sun chain screams every time someone asks or receives a bailout or subsidy from any level of government. Why is it OK for them to ask for such handouts from government, through the CRTC, when they are so adamantly opposed to anyone else receiving them? There seems to be a double standard at work here.

At a time when ordinary citizens feel like the personal piggy banks for municipal, provincial and federal politicians, we are faced with the prospect of adding billionaires like Pierre Karl Peledeau and his company to this list.

Perhaps it is time for PKP and Quebecor management to take a look at Sun News and to determine if Canadians actually want their channel

If that is a positive, they need to make it profitable without the subsidy.

They seem committed to doing it at their Sun newspaper chain and have had no problem making business decisions like recently cutting 500 jobs across the country, and at the same time, it appears, increasing the advertising percentage compared to news content.

Would making hard decisions like they did with their newspaper division be part of the answer to making Sun News profitable?

I don’t know, but I do know that it isn’t our responsibility to make them profitable.

Did Quebecor determine before the TV venture that it would be profitable right out of the gate?

Or did they know it wouldn’t be profitable and they where just waiting for the appropriate time to pass before pressing the CRTC to mandate that cable and satellite providers carry Sun News as part of the basic package.

I believe the second theory is more likely, and Quebecor has determined that since 40 per cent of Canadian households now have access to their channel they are in a position of strength to push the CRTC, arguing that 60 per cent of Canadian households are being deprived.

Let’s make no mistake about it: regardless of what Quebecor says about Canada needing another voice, it is all about the money and that is why they are in business.

Enough is enough. We already pay too much for basic cable and for my money, there isn’t anything that Quebecor can add to TV enjoyment that I am not already getting. If Quebecor wants to sell my household as part of their sales pitch, maybe they can pay me $2.16 per month for the privilege instead of the other way around.

Gord Derouin

Red Deer