Business

Bell to appeal CRTC ruling that allows U.S. Super Bowl ads

Bell will appeal a CRTC ruling from earlier this year that would force Canadian television networks to stop switching out American ads during the Super Bowl in favour of Canadian ones.

Regulator's decision would ban substituting Canadian ads for U.S. ones during Super Bowl

Bell is appealing a CRTC ruling that would ban Canadian broadcasters from showing Canadian ads during the Super Bowl instead of the American ones. (iStock)

Bell will appeal a CRTC ruling that would force Canadian television networks to stop switching out American ads during the Super Bowl in favour of Canadian ones.

In a motion filed with the Federal Court of Appeal, Bell Media is seeking leave to appeal a Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission decision at the end of January that sought to prevent Canadian broadcasters from substituting Canadian advertising over American ads during the Super Bowl — a process known as 'simsub.'

In its decision Jan. 29, the CRTC said that while Canadians have long complained about simsub, the practice is important for Canadian broadcasters, because they can use the ad revenue to pay for broadcasting rights to popular U.S. programs.

The CRTC also banned simsub for specialty channels, which affects live sports programming on other networks, and warned it would impose penalties for mismatched ads that run over top of important points in the broadcasts.

But while acknowledging its necessity for broadcasters in general, the regulator banned simsub for the Super Bowl specifically.

Bell's legal motion argues the CRTC acted in error by singling out the Super Bowl broadcast to a different set of rules.

"The decision discriminates by singling out this one particular broadcast and, more specifically, one particular licensee, given that the decision takes effect during the term of Bell Media's current contract for the Super Bowl rights," Bell Media vice-president of communications Scott Henderson said in a statement.

"People see the CRTC's simultaneous substitution decision as a negative for Canada and question why it was necessary," he said, "if it makes policy decisions based on what Canadians value, it's clear the CRTC fumbled this decision."

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