In filings to the CRTC at the end of June, Calgary-based Shaw Communications, which operates Global Television, claims it wants to launch a “hybrid local/national” English-language national news channel. Shaw’s submission included a brief outline of the plans as part of the CRTC’s formal consultation on the evolution of the Canadian broadcasting system. Shaw’s news channel proposal falls under “Category C” guidelines, which covers all-news channels like the CBC News Network, CTV News Channel, RDI and the Sun News Network.
Less than a year ago, Shaw received CRTC approval for the launch of a provincial all-news specialty channel in British Columbia that launched earlier this year: Global News BC 1. It’s thought to be a starting point for Shaw to develop a national news service. In Alberta Shaw recently hired former Alberta Primetime co-host Jennifer Martin as their program manager for Northern Alberta. Perhaps another step on the way to a national a news service? They are now advertising for an Operations Manager to oversee the production of all newscasts and special projects in Southern Alberta.
A Toronto Star article posted shortly after the CRTC hearings ended points out:
While Shaw didn’t outline exactly how its proposed news channel would operate, it’s likely Shaw would tap into the assets of numerous local TV stations it owns across the country.
The application proposed “a service that will expand and diversify the amount of news and information-related programming in the Canadian broadcasting system,” Shaw told the CRTC. Under its planned business model, the national news channel would help financially support local programming.
There is no specialty news service that currently provides such a service in this country, namely the provision of uniquely local reflection.
Shaw’s application also proposed that the CRTC should “introduce minimum thresholds to ensure that only truly national news services benefit from must-carry privileges” and that they “should enforce include reporters located in at least nine of the 13 provinces and territories, broadcasting at least 16 hours per day of original news coverage” with “overseas reporting assets telling stories from a Canadian perspective.” Proposals intended to point out that the Sun TV Network hasn’t yet met many of these requirements.
If successful in their application Shaw will have a clear path to string together local tv stations to create a national news service. Customers will have the option of subscribing to the new Global News 1 service. Unlike the Sun TV Network’s application for a must-carry licence, Shaw did not request that their news network be included as a mandatory part of basic service.
Shaw’s application was heard while the CRTC was wrapping up a formal interventions process on the future of Canadian television, “Let’s Talk TV,”which collected comments from Canadians and the industry. Topics ranged from pick-and-pay models for cable television to the future of local television and must-carry requirements for new national news services. CRTC Hearings on Shaw’s application and the Let’s Talk TV consultation will be held on September 8, 2014.
Stay tuned to see if Shaw’s proposed Global News 1 Network gets the green light from the CRTC. My guess is yes.