BUSINESS

Sun News ‘Canadian TV First' Campaign Uses U.S. Footage: Report

04/24/2013 12:55 EDT

Sun News has been working tirelessly to convince the CRTC it should be made a mandatory part of basic cable, and one of the channel’s principle arguments is that it is a major producer of Canadian content.

But its own campaign to highlight this appears to be a little heavy on American content.

The Ottawa Citizen’s Glen McGregor points out in a blog post that at least one segment in Sun News’ video presentation to the CRTC comes from a U.S. stock footage company.

At one point in the video, a Sun spokesperson refers to “older Canadians living on a fixed income,” while footage plays of an elderly couple strolling through a park and working on their taxes.

But those “older Canadians” are most likely Americans.

That’s because McGregor found the footage came from istockphoto.com, one of a number of stock image companies that provide photos and videos to media. Istockphoto, in turn, licensed the footage from Morgan Lane Studios, a production company in Oregon.

Sun News Network reportedly increased spending on original content by 89 per cent in the year ending in August 2012, spending more than $14 million on it during that period.

The channel defended its request for mandatory carriage in front of the CRTC at a hearing in Gatineau, Que. on Tuesday, and was met with some skepticism. At one point, CRTC head Jean-Pierre Blais appeared to question whether Sun News even qualified as a news channel.

You consider yourself to be a news and public affairs service, right?” Blais asked, as quoted in The Globe and Mail. “Even though, in your own words, you are edgy and opinion driven. Perhaps you’d like to talk about that.”

At another point, Blais suggested that Sun News may be struggling to build an audience because "Canadians may just not want to subscribe."

"It is inevitable you'll pay for things you don't watch and don't like. That's true for everyone," Sun News Vice-President Kory Teneycke told the hearing.

Sun News is asking the CRTC for 18 cents per month from all TV and satellite subscribers, or $2.16 per year. The revenue generated is expected to cover the company’s financial losses, which amount to around $17 million to $18 million per year.

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