Sun News is dead. A speciality channel which specialized in sound and fury, it passed quietly into the night. The whole project was ill conceived from the beginning. Christopher Waddell writes:
Initially, the Sun TV strategy seemed almost foolproof. Take a failing over-the-air channel in Toronto that relied on advertising for all its revenue and turn it into a national speciality channel that viewers would have to pay for through monthly cable or satellite subscriptions. To make it happen, mix in political pressure and powerful connections, deftly exploited.
Quebecor believed — or was convinced by others — that if it created a conservative all-news channel modelled on Fox News in the U.S., the Harper Conservative government would be so delighted (or would submit to having its arm twisted) that it would force the CRTC to require every cable and and satellite distributor in the country to include Sun TV on mandatory carriage.That would mean all of Canada’s 10 million or so cable or satellite subscribers would have to pay to watch Sun TV — or pay to not watch it, but pay for it regardless. If each household paid Sun TV just 25 cents a month as part of their cable bill, the channel would reap $30 million a year.
The prime minister's former director of communications came on board. But the Harper government presented itself as the consumer's friend, and it did not deliver as Quebecor expected:
In the final analysis, Quebecor badly misread the environment on every level. It was apparently unaware of growing public anger about the cost of cable TV. Viewers infuriated at having to pay for channels they don’t watch are increasingly cancelling their cable entirely and, like many young people, are happy to have video delivered to them online.
Like the prime minister himself, the people behind Sun News were economically inept. Their economic ignorance cost 200 jobs. Mr. Harper's ignorance has cost much more.