OTTAWA - Quebecor says its television network Sun News suffered a projected $17-million loss in 2012 and will continue to record unacceptable losses unless the federal regulator requires cable and satellite companies to carry it on their basic service.
The media giant says the current distribution agreements are inadequate to support the channel, which is only offered in 40 per cent of households.
It says these distribution challenges also hurt advertising revenues.
In its filings, Quebecor forecasts that Sun TV will lose $19.5 million in 2013, $18.9 million in 2014 and $18.1 million in 2015 — with losses in the tens of millions carrying on each year through to 2020.
Quebecor (TSX:QBR.B) called the situation "clearly unsustainable."
"The current distribution agreements Sun News has with cable and satellite providers are inadequate to support the channel," it said.
It claims the addition of Sun News — dubbed "Fox News North" by its critics — to the basic service would be "negligible" to consumers, adding only $2.16 annually to each household — $1.08 per Francophone household — if the costs are passed on to subscribers.
"Obviously a preferable option would be for (cable and satellite providers) to remove an American or foreign content channel (and associated distribution fee) from their basic lineup and include Sun News on a zero cost to consumer basis."
Quebecor wants the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission to require that Sun News be carried on all analog and digital basic services in Canada through the end of 2017. It would then be treated like other "Category C" services.
"Our plan would allow Sun News to establish an audience under similar rules and regulations to those afforded CBC Newsworld and CTV News Channel for 21 and 13 years respectively," the company said in filings to the CRTC.
"We don't begrudge our competitors in any way, we simply want the same rules that they enjoyed — at least for the next five years."
Sun TV launched in April 2011 and its on-air personalities include conservative pundit Ezra Levant.
The CRTC approved a five-year licence for the channel in November 2010 after Quebecor dropped its request for a special licence that would have required cable and satellite carriers to offer the service.
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Canada's 7 Media Giants
Postmedia - $1.1 Billion
Postmedia was born in 2010, when the bankrupt Canwest media chain was broken up. A consortium led by then-National Post CEO Paul Godfrey bought Canwest's newspaper assets, including the National Post, Ottawa Citizen and Calgary Herald, as well as both English-language dailies in Vancouver.<br> <br> Pictured: Postmedia CEO Paul Godfrey<br> <br> <em>*Number denotes latest available revenue figure, for parent company</em>
Torstar - $1.48 Billion
Torstar's flagship property is the Toronto Star, Canada's largest newspaper. It also owns the Metroland chain of weeklies and the internationally popular Harlequin, publisher of pulp romances.<br> <br> Pictured: The Toronto Star building in downtown Toronto.<br> <br> <em>*Number denotes latest available revenue figure, for parent company</em>
Shaw - $4.74 Billion
Western Canadian cable TV giant Shaw entered the media big leagues with the 2010 purchase of Canwest's broadcasting assets, including the Global TV network. The company was founded by Jim Shaw and is still controlled by his family.<br> <br> Pictured: CEO Brad Shaw<br> <br> <em>*Number denotes latest available revenue figure, for parent company</em><br> <br> <em>CORRECTION: An earlier version of this slide stated that Shaw had purchased Canwest's newspaper assets. It only purchased the broadcasting assets. The company had backed out of an earlier attempt to buy three CTV stations.</em>
Quebecor - $9.8 Billion
Founded by Pierre Peladeau and run by his son, Pierre-Karl Peladeau, Quebecor owns the Sun Media and Osprey newspaper chains, as well as cable provider Videotron, Quebec TV network TVA, and a number of publishing houses.<br> <br> Pictured: Pierre-Karl Peladeau<br> <br> <em>*Number denotes latest available revenue figure, for parent company</em>
Rogers - $12.1 Billion
Founded by Ted Rogers, Rogers Communications is a major player in cable TV and wireless services. The company controls Rogers Media, which operates 70 publications, 54 radio stations and a number of TV properties including CityTV and the Shopping Channel.<br> <br> Pictured: CEO Nadir Mohamed<br> <br> <em>*Number denotes latest available revenue figure, for parent company</em>
Woodbridge (Thomson Reuters) - $13.8B
Woodbridge is the holding company owned by the billionaire Thomson family. It controls 55 per cent of Thomson Reuters, one of the world's largest news services organizations. Woodbridge's revenue is not reported, but Thomson Reuters reported revenue of $13.8 billion in 2011.<br> <br> Pictured: The late Kenneth Thomson, company chairman, in Toronto in 2003.<br> <br> <em>*Number denotes latest available revenue figure, for parent company</em>
Bell Canada (BCE) - $18.1 Billion
BCE is one of Canada's largest corporations, and owns telephone, Internet and TV infrastructure. Its subsidary Bell Media purchased the CHUM group of radio stations in 2006, and Astral Media in 2012. The company also controls CTV, making it a dominant media player in Canada.<br> <br> <em>*Number denotes latest available revenue figure, for parent company</em>