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Bell Again Seeks Reversal of CRTC ruling on Super Bowl Ads


‘Eliminating SimSub cost us $11M this year’

by CBC News  Posted: Aug 01, 2017 .

More than 3 million Canadians watched last February’s Super Bowl on a U.S. network instead of the Canadian rights holder, Bell says. (Shutterstock)

Bell is renewing its call on the CRTC to reverse a recent decision that forces broadcasters to let Canadian viewers watch U.S. Super Bowl ads, a request that has the support of numerous sports, advertising and artistic groups.

In 2016, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission ordered the Super Bowl broadcaster to stop doing something called simultaneous substitution — better known as simsub — a practice by which Canadian broadcasters take U.S. content and replace U.S. advertisements with Canadian ones.

Normally, Canadian rights holders for major TV events like the Super Bowl take the U.S. feed and then splice in their own advertisements during commercial breaks, which is how they make money to offset the high cost of those broadcasting rights.

But the CRTC’s decision meant that for the first time last February, Canadian Super Bowl viewers could watch big budget U.S. ads if they watched the game on U.S. channels.

The results were telling. Roughly 5.4 million Canadians watched the game on Bell owned stations CTV, TSN or RDS. But another 3.4 million Canadians watched the game on a Fox channel, where they would have seen U.S. ads.

Bell argues it lost out on as much as 40 per cent of its audience as a result of that decision, which cost the network $11 million worth of advertising revenue.



  1. I guess this will prove who the CRTC, and by extension, the government, really serves – the people of Canada or the big corporate donators and country club friends.

  2. Bell, the barn door you want the CRTC to close, well the horses have run out already, it’s over in this cause, go work on your business plan and stop looking to government to conspire as cronies with you and your fellow corporatist shills. Capitalism and free(er) markets require WORK and reshaping of business plans at times, not WHINING like stuck pigs for government intervention.

  3. How many people care if Bell lost 11 millions dollars because of this decision? Most Canadians are sick and tired of having Canadian content shoved down our throat like we are so stupid and passive. The CRTC should let Canadians decide who they want to watch, end of story.

  4. Bell sounds like a typical cable company. The fact over three million people watched the US feed shows there is a large preference for it in Canada. Bell is essentially asking the CRTC to forget about what many Canadians want so they can make more money.

    It’s funny how their argument makes it sound like they lost money on the game when in fact they just made less than they thought they would of. Using their numbers if they lost 40% or $11 million they sold 60% or $16.5 million of advertising. Not a bad haul for an afternoon where they had to do nothing except carry an American feed.

    What is even more hilarious is when they said they would bundle all the Super Bowl ads and make them available online. They don’t realize that a large part of the irritation is seeing the same ad for a GMC Truck about 25 times in an afternoon, constantly seeing promos for CTV shows that I would never want to watch (many which are American and have their own channel substitution) and continuously getting the feed clipped resulting in the audience not seeing many parts of the broadcast.

  5. It shouldn’t surprise me that no one at Bell (or the ad agencies) saw an opportunity to step up their creative game and create “must-see” Canadian commercial TV moments. The Super Bowl is the time when agencies can showcase their best work and get people talking about the ads. Instead everyone was content showing the same creative, instead of debuting incredible work. Now that ship has sailed. It’s something that is pervasive in highly regulated industries – keeping the bar low.


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