Quebecor's Sun News Network channel shuts down

Fri Feb 13, 2015 9:28am EST
 
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(Reuters) - Quebecor Inc's long-struggling news channel Sun News Network has shut its doors after searching for a potential suitor for months, Sun Media Corp said on Friday.

"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," Sun Media Chief Executive Julie Tremblay said.

Sun News employs about 200 people, according to Canadian Broadcasting Corp (CBC), which reported the move to shut Sun News on Thursday.

The right-leaning channel, dubbed 'Fox News North' by media pundits, had struggled to attract viewership. Last month, the Globe and Mail newspaper reported that Sun News Network was attempting to sell itself to ZoomerMedia Ltd, which owns a stable of television, radio and other media assets.

The last-minute efforts to strike a deal came after Quebecor reached an agreement in October to sell its Sun Media newspaper assets for C$316 million ($253 million) to the Postmedia Network.

Supporters of Sun News blamed the failure of the network on industry regulator, the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), for not giving it the same carriage rights enjoyed by industry rivals like CBC and CTV, CBC said, citing sources.

CBC and CTV have mandatory carriage designations ensuring that all cable companies offer them as part of their basic cable package.

(Reporting by Zara Mascarenhas and Anet Josline Pinto in Bengaluru and Euan Rocha in Toronto; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Bernadette Baum)