Sun TV is dead

Word arrives of Sun TV’s demise.

I don’t watch TV so this is an abstract blow. I watched enough of Sun to know that I didn’t like it any more than I liked the Sun newspapers. It was certainly a dissident voice in the wasteland of Canadian television. But it missed Marshall Mcluhan’s point about television being a cool media. Worse, it lacked the vision which has driven Fox to the top of the cable heap.

Television is dying. Viewership is dropping, ad revenues are down. It’s dying because no one has time and no one wants to be talked at. Talked with, perhaps. My phone offers me a thousand and eleven news sources, raw video of events:the opinions I can develop myself.

Sun’s critical mistake – other than having the production values of community TV, was to miss how mainstream, lefty, media works. The opinion is embedded not overt.

I love Ezra and Brian Lilley. For five minutes at a time max. Which leaves 23 hours and change to do serious reporting, regional coverage, round tables, celebrity bs, culture, media, books and call ins. Plus serious business reporting when the market is open.

None of that happened. Or,if it did, no one knew about it.

Taking several million dollars and running a conservative flag up a pole is a worthy endeavour. Everyone at Sun deserves a heartfelt pat on the back. But the reality is that marketplaces decide what works and Sun TV never did.

It is encouraging that BCF noted that Ezra was sitting with Moses Znaimer at the Mark Steyn event. Znaimer is the smartest guy in Canadian television bar none.

Sun TV was an attempt to change the channel. It failed. The need remains but it has to be smart, slickly produced and Internet aware. Sun TV, whatever its ideological virtue, was ham handed, as slick as Brian’s do, and Internet poison. These are people from the dying newspaper business trying to revive the dying television business and it showed.

The market is never wrong… On to the next thing.

UPDATE:Lots of smart commentary floating around the Canadian net. Thanks to Blazingcatfur, Five Feet and Mark Steyn for linking.

Creating conservative media one needs to keep a couple of things in mind. Toronto is not Canada. No, really. The Internet is here to stay and it has changed everything. Real news leads, opinion follows. Conservatives are busy people. They will watch smartly packaged news and business reporting. The success of BNN demonstrates this. Television is dying so don’t be television…look to VICE as a model. Fixed costs are your enemy, freelancers your friend. There is a lot of underutilised studio space all over Canada. Slick production is about style, the 70’s are over. Technology let’s you shoot studio quality on a DSLR and edit on your phone. Use it or find someone who can.

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13 thoughts on “Sun TV is dead

  1. Maikeru says:

    The market is never wrong…

    The ‘market’, in this case, is dominated by command rather than demand, Jay, which distorts the equation.
    I just posted this over at FreeDominion (currently available only to caucus):

    If Sun News fails, so be it.
    Canadians have been exposed to some excellent investigative reporting, my favourites being the many commentaries by Canada’s most excellent media man Ezra Levant – albeit via links which I watch on computer.
    It may be better for talents such as Ezra to do podcasting, and for the whiz kids to figure out how to enhance the production values of that medium.

  2. Jay I see what you’re saying (and I haven’t had a coffee yet) but the “market” isn’t entirely “free” when you have a CRTC etc deciding who gets mandatory carriage.

    • Thanks Kathy. As far as I am concerned, as a watcher of Sun News, the only thing wrong with Sun News was the CBC; CTV; the Glope and Flop; The Stalin Star and the apparent pundits at the National Post. They never supported Sun and in fact, went to a lot of trouble to ensure they failed. We all know the Canadian Press and the CRTC are all made up from these whore stations. We all know they are being paid for or are part of the librano party of Canada as well as the Canadian Muslim Brotherhood.

  3. Tokenn says:

    Abolish the CRTC and defund the CBC…then we’ll see ‘what the market says’. In fact, let’s abolish all arts and media funding.

    Look…any serious (ie.market oriented) student of economics is well aware that government regulation and subsidisation gives a huge advantage to established players, and acts to discourage entry to new players. I knew SNN was probably doomed when it didn’t qualify for mandatory carriage.

  4. Kursk says:

    Were Canadians really “exposed” to all that wonderful investigative reporting? I would have to say that that was the most important consideration in the denial of mandatory carriage for Sun TV. Deny the voice and you suppress the ideas/ideals that are behind it.

    Saying that, I agree that if you want a conservative voice in the media, create the platform: the trick is to get by the regulatory bottlenecks (CRTC etc.) that have been set up to perpetuate leftist groupthink, and deny a voice to any dissenting opinion.

  5. Terry Rudden says:

    SUN was a specialty channel, catering to the preferences of a cadre of niche viewers who were passionate, loyal, and too few in Canada to sustain a television network, however shoddy. It was an interesting experiment, an inevitable and predictable failure, and one more downtick in poor old Ezra’s resumé. What’s next, do you suppose? Senatorial appointment? Ambassadorship to Sierra Leone? Shuffleboard instructor for Norwegian Cruises?

  6. Miss Trixie says:

    Jay, darls, not to nitpick but it’s “Lilley”, not “Lily”.

  7. […] Jay Currie: “Sun TV was an attempt to change the channel. It failed. The need remains but it has to be smart, slickly produced and Internet aware. Sun TV, whatever its ideological virtue, was ham handed, as slick as Brian’s do, and Internet poison. These are people from the dying newspaper business trying to revive the dying television business and it showed.” […]

  8. I’ve never watched much TV. Most of my life I’ve never even owned a TV. Since moving to the UK this inclination has been compounded by the fact that here, if you own a TV that you watch broadcast TV programs on you have to pay a TV Licence Fee of £145/annum which is used to fund the BBC. Not going to happen. I do like watching movies, either on DVD or downloaded through iTunes etc.

    Our family was given a LG smart TV for Christmas. Which is great because through Amazon Prime, Netflix, youtube etc. there’s a huge selection of material to watch othe there. But imagine my surprise to find amongst other channels pre-loaded on the TV, The National Film Board of Canada. Now if the NFB is savvy enough to get its product loaded on to LG TVs that are sold all over the world, what’s stopping Sun News? I doubt Korean multinationals are prey to special interests in the way the CRTC is. And with global reach comes the opportunity to expand beyond just Canadian news and internationalise the content.

    The only other thing I would add is that the value of having a conservative news station is not in conservative editorialising, but in the opportunity to put news stories into the public realm that the legacy media studiously ignore.

    Sun News International – Bring it on!

  9. gainny says:

    “Worse, it lacked the vision which has driven Fox to the top of the cable heap.”

    It was The Simpsons that kept Fox afloat in the early years.

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