Thursday, May 6, 2010

Who Will End Up Saving SCN?

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Saskatchewan Communications Network, the provincially owned cable network that was slated to fade to black on the 30th of April was given a stay of execution when twelve interested parties stepped forward to acquire the broadcast license from the provincial government.  It would only seem natural that other broadcasters or broadcast distributors would be interested in a channel that is normally carried on analog cable on one of the lower channel numbers.  Here's some likely candidates of potential both local and national companies that could become the future owner/operator of SCN:

Access Communications: Saskatchewan's cable television co-operative has a large amount of locally produced programming through the many community channels they operate.  By amending the SCN license to turn SCN into an advertising driven network, would give Access a revenue stream apart from subscriber fees.

Shaw Communications: That other Cable TV operator in the province could be looking picking up the SCN license as yet another troubled broadcaster they they can use to build their broadcasting empire.  Shaw is already in the process of buying Canwest Global for more than two billion dollars.

Sasktel: The government owned telco is already getting SCN's broadcast assets handed over to them for free why not get the license to and own the whole thing?  It would be another channel to plaster with Little Red Riding Hood commercials but that would probably lead to SCN getting dropped by cable and satellite companies.

SMPIA: The membership Saskatchewan Motion Picture Industry Association produces a large portion of the programming on SCN.  Getting the license for SCN and running it as a commercial network would give members a place for their shows and feature length productions to be seen and a revenue stream that could be put back to fund new productions.  Saskatchewan made productions both present and past would fill the SCN schedule,  and you thought The Comedy Network was full of Corner Gas reruns.

CTVGlobeMedia: Getting SCN's broadcasting license would allow CTVGlobeMedia to replicate in Saskatchewan what they did with Access Alberta, the educational cable channel that CTVGlobeMedia got when they acquired ChumCity television. 

CBC: On the surface there may not seem to be much value in getting SCN's broadcast license, after all the CBC is supposed to be everything to all Canadians in both official languages, but given the political climate what it is, getting the cable network license and move CBC's french language television to spot on cable and satellite TV where SCN used to be, and shutting down the transmitters that spread CBC french television across the province would save a lot of money.  The cost of Electricity to run those transmitters is very high given the very small size of Saskatchewan's french speaking community.  Any bean counters looking to save their jobs could do exactly that.

Those are just a few of the most likely suspects that could save SCN, it will only take another three weeks to find out if somebody can save SCN.

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