Sun News network fades to black

Sun News Network went off the air at 5 a.m. ET Friday after failing to find a new owner.

Programming on the channel was replaced with a Sun TV logo.

Sun Media Corp. issued a statement saying it spent months unsuccessfully trying to find a buyer, but financial losses meant it could not continue to operate.

The network began broadcasting in April 2011, launching a right-of-centre programming schedule, but it has had a constant challenge attracting viewers.

Its supporters blamed the CRTC for not giving it the same access enjoyed by news channels operated by CBC and CTV.

The federal broadcast regulator denied Sun News a guaranteed spot on basic cable TV packages in August 2013.

Data released as part of that application showed that while the network was available to 5.1 million households, it was only attracting, on average, 8,000 viewers at any given time.

That number was far lower than what well-established all-news networks operated by CTV and CBC were reporting. CBC, for example, said it had eight times as many viewers as Sun News.

When Postmedia (TSE: PNC.A) announced last October that it was buying Quebecor's (TSE: QBR.B) Sun Media Corp. and its 175 English-language newspapers — including the Toronto Sun — the TV channel was not included in the deal.

Postmedia shares were unchanged Friday morning at $1.95, within a 52-week range of $1.25 to $1.50, while Quebecor shares crept up nine cents to $32.20, within a 52-week range of $23.43 to $33.91.