A Business Case for SCN

Premier Wall,

Fifteen years ago I was freshly graduated from the University of Regina’s Film program.  I soon found myself in a meeting with an SCN program manager, looking for advice about how to pursue an idea I had for a documentary.  The program manager practically held the pen in my hand as I filled out the very first development loan of my career.

I produced, shot, wrote, edited, and directed that documentary, and it wasn’t very good.  But SCN played it along side the rest of their library, some of which included world class, award winning, Saskatchewan made and internationally distributed television programming.  SCN showed patience with me over the years, and took a strong interest in my career.  I’ve since been able to hone my skills, grow my business, and take my projects to an international level.

In December 2009, my documentary series, ‘InJustice’ won an award at Showcase.  I developed and produced that series with SCN and it has since sold to CBC as well as to other broadcasters around the world.  With that series, along with every other project I did with SCN over the years, I hired and trained dozens of Saskatchewan residents for their first job in the Film & Television Industry.

Virtually all of us who continue to live and work in the Saskatchewan Film & Television industry are here because of the larger than life role SCN played in our careers.  We have gone on to create content that wins awards, competes and plays on screens all over the world.

It is also important to understand that SCN’s reach extends far beyond those of us who work in the industry.  SCN truly is ‘Saskatchewan’s Storyteller’.  Available on digital cable and satellite across the country, SCN functions as a beacon signalling to the rest of Canada that we are a great province, we are a great place to live and work, we are an enterprise upon which the world takes notice, and we most definitely cast a long shadow.

SCN broadcasts its signal coast to coast, 18 hours a day, 365 days a year.  With an annual operating budget in the range of $6 million, SCN is virtually invisible in a $10 billion provincial budget.

Perhaps instead of viewing SCN as a .06% expenditure of the provincial budget, it can instead be viewed as a $6 million asset that does 10’s of millions of dollars worth of communication services on behalf of our province’s private and public enterprises to a national audience.  Combined with the mandate to tell Saskatchewan stories, SCN can emerge as a powerful entity worth many times it actual book value.

The infrastructure is already in place.  SCN has a CRTC Tier one licence, meaning the channel is available in every Canadian home with a satellite or digital cable box.  There are gaps at the top and bottoms of each hour to fill.  Use that time to profile Saskatchewan’s enterprises to a national audience.  Have those businesses pay for the production of their profiles and provide the air time free of charge.  Everyone wins.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Sincerely,

Jarrett Rusnak
writer • producer • director
Dacian Productions Inc.

2 thoughts on “A Business Case for SCN

  1. I sent it to the Premier, the Finance Minister, and the Minister of Culture about 10 minutes after I wrote it in my blog. See you at tomorrow’s rally!

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