Monday, November 21, 2011

Toronto 1/SUN TV: 2003-2011

The sun has now officially set on Toronto1/SUN TV. The CRTC Friday revoked the license as requested from TVA Group. Quebecor pretty much had to give up its broadcast window (Channel 15 in the GTA on Rogers) when they launched SUN News as a digital specialty service.
The station launched Sept. 19, 2003 as Craig-owned Toronto 1. This was before all that "broken business model" nonsense, when TV stations were still seen as a licence to print money. There were five media companies bidding on this window on Canada's largest TV market, including the Toronto Star. Jaws dropped when Craig Media from Calgary won the rights.
Jaws dropped again months later when the Craig's bailed. Toronto 1 was sold to CHUM/City, which had to divest and quickly sold it to Quebecor.
Owners came and went but nothing ever changed, ratings-wise. Rival ads sales teams always referred to it as "Toronto 0.1," indicating its perennial share of the market. The recession didn't help, and pretty soon the station was rerunning King of Kensington to try and keep the lights on.
When the CRTC finally said what's the deal with using this OTA licence to over-the-air simulcast your Category C digital specialty news network, Quebecor decided to walk rather than fight and gave notice it would not seek to renew the licence. The shut down of CKXT is only the fifth TV station to go dark in Canada since 1977 (others being in Hull, Calgary and Edmonton).
The loss of this station means SUN News is no longer "must carry" in Toronto, Hamilton, London and Ottawa, although it is available further up the dial on some cable and satellite providers. And, 21 days into November, SUN News is still being simulcast on Channel 15 on Rogers Cable in Brampton, which seems darn sporting of the folks at Rogers.
UPDATE: Okay, this makes sense. Rogers has just announced that their new 24-hour news channel CityNews will take over that channel 15 position starting Tuesday, Nov. 22.

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