If it’s the Super Bowl, it means that it’s the perfect reason for Bell to complain about the CRTC’s decision on “simultaneous substitution” or simsubs. Bell says its ratings dropped by 39% this year compared with last, due to the regulator’s ruling to prohibit simsubs during the popular Super Bowl games, which, some say are watched as much for the commercials as for the game itself.
While in the US the ratings dropped just slightly — 111.3 million compared to 111.9 million last year according to Nielsen’s report — Bell’s numbers aren’t as shiny. Bell owns exclusive rights to broadcast the game on TV in Canada.
According to a report from the Globe and Mail, this year CTV, CTV Two and TSN drew an average audience of just 4.47 million. That compares to CTV’s last year audience of 7.32 million Canadians watching Super Bowl.
The reason of this drop is the 2015 decision of the CRTC banning siusubs during the Super Bowl starting this year. Although it applies to the game itself and it doesn’t hurt the pre- and post-game coverage, it had the aforementioned results, according to Bell.
You may recall that Bell Media has recently announced that it is reducing staff, partly because of the Super Bowl simsub issue.
In order to increase the audience, Bell has put the game on more of its channels and it has also launched a “Watch and Win” contest with cash prizes available only for those watching the Canadian feed. The latter ultimately turned against Bell, because of a technical glitch: people began to complain that the messages don’t go through. This glitch was fixed by the second quarter, Bell said.