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|Launched||September 1, 1988|
|Picture format||480i (SDTV)|
|Bell TV||Channel 261|
|Shaw Direct||Channel 394|
|Available on most Canadian cable systems||Check local listings, channels may vary|
|Bell Aliant||Channel 996|
|Bell Fibe TV||Channel 261|
|Optik TV||Channel 871|
VisionTV is currently owned by ZoomerMedia, a company controlled by Moses Znaimer. VisionTV's funding comes from cable subscription fees, viewer donations, advertising revenues and the sale of airtime to faith groups.
History and viewership
Licensed in December 1987 by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), the channel was launched in 1988 under the ownership of a nonprofit organization that eventually evolved into S-VOX. It was initially one of Canada's more popular cable channels. However, with the proliferation of new cable channels, it has been moved up the dial by carriers and become less available to audiences, causing a drop in its viewership. VisionTV lacked clout with cable carriers as it was then a one-channel operation owned by a not-for-profit organization rather than a large commercial entity operating many channels.
Notably, Rogers Cable was criticized in 1997 for moving Vision to Channel 59 on its Toronto system, rendering it inaccessible to many apartment residents because 59 is the channel most commonly overridden by the lobby camera service in apartment buildings. After Vision protested, Rogers offered to put Vision on channel 78 as well, but Vision turned that down because many of its viewers' sets can't reach that far.
Some evangelical Christian denominations[who?] view the station as liberal in orientation, and thus prefer more evangelically oriented operations such as the Crossroads Television System (CTS).
In June 2009, S-VOX announced it would sell its broadcasting assets to ZoomerMedia, a company controlled by Moses Znaimer. The sale was approved by the CRTC on March 30, 2010. ZoomerMedia assumed control of S-VOX's broadcasting assets on June 30, 2010.
In December 2010, ZoomerMedia introduced a new logo and on-air identity for the channel with the tagline, "Zoomer Television" (Zoomer being a word coined by Znaimer meaning "boomers with zip"), emphasizing its focus on more general entertainment programming for the 45 and older demographic.
In August 2013, the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) denied Vision's application to continue mandatory carriage which had required all Canadian cable systems to carry the channel.
VisionTV's programming consists of two programming streams; Mosaic and Cornerstone.
Its Mosaic block consists of faith related programming representing 75 faith groups within various religious denominations, including Catholics, Protestants, Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus. While the station sells time to several television evangelists, most of its Christian programming tends to originate from more mainstream denominations such as the United Church of Canada and the Catholic Church - although United Church of Canada stopped producing its weekly program in 2008 due to a poor time slot, high costs of airtime and lack of viewership.
VisionTV's Cornerstone programs include music, feature films, dramas, comedies, documentaries and programming on social issues that explore spirituality, morality, and cultural diversity as well as other general entertainment programming.
The network also sponsors an annual Canadian drama competition, which solicits television series proposals revolving around faith and cultural diversity and then funds a pilot episode for the winning proposal. Two noted Canadian series, Lord Have Mercy! and Da Kink in My Hair, have been developed from pilots commissioned by VisionTV.
- Lorna Dueck, "Me TV Bumps God Up The Dial", Crossroads Christian Communications, October 1997.
- VisionTV Board agrees to ZoomerMedia purchase of television properties, VisionTV press release, June 15, 2009
- ZoomerMedia Limited Completes Acquisitions and Financing
- "CRTC rejects Sun News Network's request to be carried on basic cable". Hamilton Spectator. August 8, 2013. Retrieved August 9, 2013.