Bell to fight CRTC Super Bowl ruling
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Mar 03, 2015  |  Vote 0    0

Bell to fight CRTC Super Bowl ruling

Simultaneous substitution, which occurs when a distributor temporarily replaces the signal of one TV channel with that of another channel showing the same program at the same time, has been a thorn in the side for viewers for years.

OurWindsor.Ca

Bell Media is challenging a ban on ad substitution during the Super Bowl, calling the move legally flawed since it singles out the popular live event while continuing to permit “sim-sub” for over-the-air broadcasters.

The unit of Montreal’s BCE filed a Federal Court motion Monday seeking leave to appeal a Jan 29 ruling by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, saying the regulator erred in law and exceeded its jurisdiction.

The CRTC ruling, while not completely eliminating sim-sub, required that broadcasters account for programming lost during the substitution process and prohibited Super Bowl ad swapping, thus allowing U.S. feeds to co-exist with Canadian simulcasts.

Bell Media argues in its submission that broadcasting legislation “does not authorize the . . . singling out a particular program or licensee.”

The CRTC in its decision said since non-Canadian advertising tailored for the Super Bowl is an integral part of the program, distributors will no longer be allowed to perform simultaneous substitution as of the end of the 2016 NFL season.

Simultaneous substitution, which occurs when a distributor temporarily replaces the signal of one TV channel with that of another channel showing the same program at the same time, has been a thorn in the side for viewers for years — and the CRTC in its decision imposed new penalties for errors during the signal handover.

The commission, however, said it would reluctantly allow sim-sub to continue “for the time being” since it helps local stations keep their local audiences for news and other programming and the advertising dollars that go with them.

According to a study by Armstrong Consulting commissioned by Bell, Rogers and Shaw, eliminating the sim-sub practice in the 2012-2013 broadcast year would have reduced advertising revenues for English-language private conventional television broadcasters by $242 to $266 million.

It cited a secondary impact of additional reductions in advertising revenues due to less money invested in programming in the range of $173 to $191 million.

The CRTC decision follows public hearings examining the country’s broadcasting rules that also produced an order requiring Bell to alter is pricing for is mobile TV app, an order Bell is also seeking to appeal.

Toronto Star

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