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CRTC to Allow U.S. Super Bowl TV Ads in Canada Starting in 2017

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As part of CRTC Chairman Jean-Pierre Blais’ speech to the London Chamber of Commerce this morning, the regulator has announced starting with the 2017 Super Bowl, simsubs—or simultaneous substitutions—will be banned by Canadians broadcasters.

This means those infamous and expensive U.S. Super Bowl ads Canadians don’t get to see on TV in real-time, will finally air here as planned.

Arizona Super Bowl 2015

Simsubs would normally have Canadian broadcasters overlay their own ads instead of U.S. commercials, adding substantial advertising revenue—roughly $250 million to the industry—during the popular football finale.

Here’s what Blais had to say in his speech, which noted they have listened to Canadians that wanted U.S. ads during the Super Bowl:

First, broadcasters will be banned from using simsub during the Super Bowl starting with the one that will be broadcast at the end of the 2016 NFL season – and for all future broadcasts of the game thereafter. The 8 million Canadian football fans that watched last year’s Super Bowl will be happy to hear that. Because as many of you know, and as Canadians have told us loud and clear: advertising is part of the spectacle associated with this event.

Keeping simsub for all broadcasts other than the Super Bowl may rankle more than a few viewers, and I understand their concerns. That’s why, as a second measure, the CRTC is introducing a zero-tolerance approach to substantial mistakes. If, for example, a Canadian broadcaster cuts back to an NFL game late and causes viewers to miss a play, it could be forced to pay rebates to viewers for its mistake. If an OTA station makes the same error, it could lose the privilege to request simsub for future broadcasts of major live events, such as other football games, for a period of time.

The CRTC says when an NFL game is aired in Canada, it expects viewers will get to see everything in its entirety from beginning to end, without any simsub interference.

If Bell Media waives its right to switch ads, U.S. Super Bowl ads could come as early as next year.

Last year, the CRTC asked Rogers to stop ‘blaming’ the regulator for Super Bowl ad swaps, based on inaccurate information provided to a customer by a member of the carrier’s social media team:

At the time, Rogers said “Simsubs allow for the carriage of U.S. signals in Canada which are popular with our customers while at the same time preserving the Canadian rights market and the health of the Canadian broadcasting system.”

What do you think of this CRTC decision? Do you want U.S. or Canadian commercials during the Super Bowl?

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