Bell Files Motion to Appeal CRTC ‘Simsub’ Super Bowl Ads Ruling


Back in January the CRTC announced it would ban ‘simsubs’ during the Super Bowl, which meant starting in 2017, Canadians would be able to watch U.S. ads during the NFL finale, instead of inserted local and national advertisements.

Of course this means it would cause Bell Media to lose millions in advertising dollars, and according to The Globe and Mail, the company has filed a motion in court today to appeal the CRTC’s ruling:

On Monday, Bell filed a motion for leave to appeal with the Federal Court of Appeal, claiming a Jan. 29 decision by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications (CRTC) to ban broadcasters from swapping their own signals and ads in place of American feeds when carrying the Super Bowl “impairs Bell Media’s rights and interests.”

Bell Media spokesman Scott Henderson told the Globe “the CRTC erred in law, exceeded its jurisdiction, and demonstrated a lack of awareness of Canadian attitudes, opinions, and values.”

The company today also released a poll conducted by Nanos Research on its behalf, asking 1,000 Canadians what was more important: “to watch U.S. commercials during the Super Bowl, or to support the Canadian broadcasters that have paid for the broadcasting rights.” The conclusion was close to 69 per cent supported broadcasters, nearly 20 per cent said they would rather watch U.S. ads, while 11 per cent said they were undecided.

Last month, the CRTC denied Bell closed door meetings to discuss simsubs, as the Commission noted the decision was based on public proceedings.

Bell is also currently embroiled in a battle with the CRTC over its Mobile TV app and how it subsidized data streams compared to those available to other apps.

Do you want to see U.S. or Canadian ads during the Super Bowl?


  • dave

    Its about time! I dont care about football, if I ever were to watch the superbowl it would have been for the ads (had we ever actually broadcast them properly) And I and most other Canadians couldnt care less if Bell stands to lose some $since it most likely came from gouging their poor customers

  • CMfly

    Wow bell did not ask me or any of my friends I guess. No one (trust me) wants to watch a 3 month old pizza pizza or canadian tire ad during the superbowl. Let alone repeats of the same ads over and over again.

    The ads are as much a part of the entertainment as the game is for most people watching.

  • Dr. AL

    I suspect Quebec would be different as they aren’t just taking the U.S. feed and adding ads in place. Assuming they are televising the game in French they are also adding in their own commentators and thus chancing the game completely.

    Potentially a route for Bell to consider, if they add their own commentators and run more of a program other than just using the U.S. feed, does that mean they can then use their own ads?

    Spend more on commentators but use the NFL cameras and the get ad revenue.

  • kkritsilas

    Let’s see. Nanos research does a poll, sponsored by Bell, regarding the US ads during the Superbowl, and 69% came out in favour of supporting Bell broadcast rights.

    CRTC did public consultation, and banned simsubs based on that consultation.

    I think there is a disconnect here. To be up front about it, Bell’s poll had results already pre-determined, and whether it be due to the wording of the question (the basic question seems flawed from the start. The question asked ” “to watch U.S. commercials during the Super Bowl, or to support the
    Canadian broadcasters that have paid for the broadcasting rights.”) It wasn’t would you prefer to watch US ads during Superbowl, or Canadian ads? I bet the results, if honestly reported, would have been much different. Either that, or they just outright falsified the results, or chose a specific demographic (ie. people who don’t watch the Superbowl). to make the results come out the way they did.

    Shave on Nanos for participating in this sham poll.

    Dell can file all the legal paperwork they want. CRTC is a regulator, and the courts generally don’t step on regulator’s toes, unless it is pretty blatant. Bell’s attempts to ensure its advertising revenues are not adversely affected will probably NOT result in the court interfering.


  • MGSayah

    Quebec doesn’t only have French channels. In Quebec you get all channels you would normally get from all across Canada and the states. What do you do when you have for example; CTV montreal, CTV Toronto, CTV Vancouver, CTV Halifax, CTV Quebec or even just Canadian or American channels such as TSN or ABC that stream the game with non-Law abinding ads in them? Sue the CRTC, Bell…
    Something is missing, they clearly didn’t think this through.

    Don’t get me wrong, I would love to see the US ads, but something’s were left unanswered or unthought of

  • MichaelYYZ

    I don’t have cable, satellite or IP TV. Only OTA, so I can receive the American channels straight from Buffalo, NY. So I get the American commercials on those channels.

    Having said that, I am not sure what’s happening on cable, satellite or IP TV. If the Canadian TV providers replace the commercials on their own channels (e.g. CTV), I think they’d perfectly entitled to do so in order to gain revenue. But if they also replace the commercials on the U.S. channels (e.g. ABC), then that would be terribly wrong, in my opinion. Is this what is happening?

    I would want to watch Canadian channels with Canadian commercials and ‘unaltered’ American channels with American commercials. This, I think, would be fair game for everyone.