CRTC Denies Proposed All-Canadian Film Channel Mandatory Carriage

The regulator also rejected a bid by a loss-making conservative 24/7 news service for guaranteed audience and revenue, heralding a possible end to the venture.

TORONTO - Canadians will not be compelled to pay for an all-Canadian movie channel and Sun News Network, a loss-making conservative 24/7 all-news channel seeking a guaranteed audience.

The CRTC on Thursday bowed to market forces and kept more cord-cutting by Canadians at bay, at least for now, by not granting a regulatory gift to Starlight, an all-Canadian movie service that looked to be licensed as a must-carry digital cable channel.

The regulator conceded that getting Canadian films to local consumers was a challenge in the face of Hollywood competition.

But the CRTC in a ruling argued Starlight failed to present a "compelling case" for guaranteed audience and revenue.

The CRTC also denied mandatory carriage for Sun News Network, a move parent Quebecor Media said could spell the end of the loss-making channel.

Other new or existing cable channels denied by the CRTC mandatory carriage or raised rates -- whether Canadians wanted to pony up or not - included Vision TV, EqualTV, Canadian Punjabi Network and Accents.

The regulator said the bidding channels did not demonstrate "exceptional nature," nor key public policy objectives under the federal Broadcasting Act.

Only three new TV services will receive mandatory carriage, including AMI TV, for French-speaking Canadians with visual impairment, and ARTV, which will be carried by all cable and satellite TV distributors, even as consumers can choose whether to subscribe.