Sun News, which has been on the air for about six months, was also a drag on earnings. While specialty channels make money on a mix of advertising revenues and fees from cable and satellite subscribers, TVA chose to forgo subscriber revenue for Sun News until now. The channel was placed on a free, over-the-air TV signal, replacing the money-losing Sun TV station in Toronto, Ottawa, Hamilton and London, Ont. The over-the-air station was also picked up free by some cable and satellite companies.
The combined revenues of Sun TV and Sun News have dropped 86 per cent since the news channel launched in April. The channel is now negotiating deals with subscriber TV services to increase revenues.
I’m sure there are negotiations for subscriber revenues, but that doesn’t distract from the clear picture: advertiser revenue has dried up and dried up BAD. This fact offers a clue as to the TRUE ratings for Sun TV, as well as testament to potential squeamishness from would be advertisers. Again, you can spin it all day long, but this station barks like a DOG, shits like a DOG and digs a money pit like a DOG.
What does it mean? I depart from others in viewing these numbers as evidence of a channel which will eventually pack it in. See, I don’t think there was ever a rational “demand” for another news channel, nor do I think there was some gap in previous manifestations that needed something to fill the void. In fact, two news channels, you could actually argue saturation in the Canadian market, there was no true economic impetus for another channel. This backdrop is informative, because Sun TV isn’t about making money necessarily, it was borne and pushed out of ideological zeal, a partisan consideration really, part of concerted effort to push a particular political bent. I view the network as a propaganda arm and I expect the channel to soldier on as long as is humanely possible, no matter the abysmal figures. The goal will be to lessen losses, buried within a larger conglomerate that can absorb the poor economics. Normal fundamentals don’t necessarily apply in the short term, I expect a stubborn commitment that will forever preach future success.
I still haven’t watched the station, although I feel like I have, given all the second hand conversation I read. I don’t expect the network to simply vanish any time soon, while these numbers are heartening in one sense, there is much commitment to keep the Conservative signal up and running, no matter. What is clear though, commitment aside, this network is a BIT player at the moment, and it deserves attention in line with it’s narrow influence.