Sun Sets on Network News TV Channel
CBJ – After a tumultuous four-year existence hampered by low ratings and even lower revenue, Sun News Network went off the air at 5am ET Friday morning, failing to find a new owner – putting about 200 people out of work. There had been no prior warning or on-air announcement that the end was coming. Instead, at the conclusion of the final programme just before 5am, the channel went dark followed by this message: “Sun News Network is no longer available, at the discretion of the programmer.”
ZoomerMedia, led by Canadian broadcasting legend Moses Znaimer, had been the frontrunner in talks to purchase the television network, but ultimately a deal could not be reached. Content on the website was replaced with a red Sun TV logo on a blue background.
Owner Sun Media Corp. recently sold 175 of its print publications and websites – including the Toronto Sun – to Postmedia for $316 million, but Sun News Network TV was not part of the ownership transaction.
“This is an unfortunate outcome; shutting down Sun News was certainly not our goal,” said Julie Tremblay, President and CEO of Media Group and Sun Media Corporation. “Over the past four years, we tried everything we could to achieve sufficient market penetration to generate the profits needed to operate a national news channel. Sadly, the numerous obstacles to carriage that we encountered spelled the end of this venture. We thank all employees for their daily efforts and the talent they have contributed to the channel. We wish them all the best in their future endeavours.”
The network began broadcasting in April 2011, launching a right-of-centre programming schedule, but it has had a constant challenge attracting viewers, rarely pulling in more than 7,000 viewers at a time on a nationwide basis. Sun News Network lost $17 million in 2012 and $14.8 million in 2013. Figures are not yet available for 2014, but it’s expected they would have been about the same as 2013.