Posted in TV

CTV adds more Sunday NFL football, which could kill Sunday evening news

As Bell Media tries to figure out how it will deal with losing NHL hockey to rival Rogers, the company has already started solidifying its deals for other sports programming. On Monday, it announced that it has extended and expanded its deal with the National Football League, and will, starting next season, be presenting football games at 4pm on Sundays on CTV and CTV Two in addition to the 1pm games it currently airs.

NFL games normally go three hours, and sometimes longer, so basic math suggests that airing games at 4pm on Sundays means those games will still be going at 6pm. But Bell Media couldn’t say right away what would happen to 6pm local newscasts on Sundays.

“The specific programming plan is evolving, but we have every intention of meeting our local news obligations in eastern Canada,” was the response from Bell Media when I asked about the Sunday newscasts.

CTV stations in large markets like Montreal and Toronto are required to air 14 hours of local programming a week. Currently, they air about 16 hours a week of local news, so they could cancel Sunday newscasts and still meet their CRTC obligations. Because the CRTC requirement doesn’t distinguish between original programs and repeats, they could also cheat by repeating an evening newscast the next day at 6am. (Global Montreal did this every weekday before the launch of Morning News. CTV also does this in some markets.)

Not having Sunday evening news wouldn’t be the end of the world. They could do like CBC and just have a late-night newscast on Sundays. City Toronto, which airs NFL football at 4pm on Sundays, cancels the evening newscast when it airs those games.

Moving the news to another time would be tricky, though. They can’t make it earlier without bringing it all the way back to noon. Pushing it an hour later might work, but ask any fan of 60 Minutes how often the 4pm football game ends before 7pm. CTV also airs primetime shows at 7pm. Right now that’s when it airs ABC’s Once Upon a Time.

Making this even more complicated is that the NFL season is only 17 weeks long, running from September to early January. So they might have one schedule for the fall and another for the rest of the year.

They have a few months to figure it out. The change takes effect with the 2014-15 season which starts in September.

31 thoughts on “CTV adds more Sunday NFL football, which could kill Sunday evening news

    1. Fagstein Post author

      If only CTV Montreal had their own morning show, this wouldn’t even be an issue…

      I don’t see how that follows. A weekday morning show doesn’t solve a scheduling conflict at 6pm on Sundays.

      Reply
  1. ATSC

    If they used a sub-channel (12.2), they could run their news on that when the main network feed on (12.1) was killing the local news. They could also run some CTV2 programs as well on 12.2
    It doesn’t even have to be in HD. 480p 16×9 would do the trick.

    There is a way around it. It just takes a commitment from the broadcaster.

    At least CKMI-DT (15.1) will still have local news for viewers to tune in.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      If they used a sub-channel (12.2), they could run their news on that when the main network feed on (12.1) was killing the local news. They could also run some CTV2 programs as well on 12.2

      That’s a possibility. Though CTV would need a change to its licence, and it would need to arrange carriage of that channel on cable and satellite. And it’s unclear if simultaneous substitution rules would apply to that as well, which would be the big difference as far as CTV Two programming (which is a solution that wouldn’t work in places like Ottawa that have CTV and CTV Two stations both running football at 4pm).

      At least CKMI-DT (15.1) will still have local news for viewers to tune in.

      Except when golf pre-empts the local newscast.

      Reply
      1. JoshG

        …places like Ottawa that have CTV and CTV Two stations both running football at 4pm

        From the announcement:

        Fans will now receive Sunday afternoon games on conventional (CTV/CTV Two) and specialty (TSN/TSN2) at both 1 and 4 p.m.

        NFL Sundays in Canada:
        1 p.m. Two games in each market
        4 p.m. Two games in each market

        My reading of that is that the intent is to air two games, one on broadcast (CTV or CTV2) and one on cable (TSN or TSN2), in each window. I suspect that most weeks, CTV will the early game while CTV2 airs the late game, or perhaps vice versa, similar to what Global / CH used to do when they had the Sunday afternoon rights.

        Of course, they don’t make clear what would occur in a market without a CTV2 station like Montreal.

        Reply
        1. Fagstein Post author

          My reading of that is that the intent is to air two games, one on broadcast (CTV or CTV2) and one on cable (TSN or TSN2), in each window.

          As I understand it, they’re using all their channels, so there will be one game on CTV (different ones for each station), one game on CTV Two, one game on TSN, and one game on TSN2.

          Reply
  2. MBR

    I’m referring to the minimum required hours of programming that you mentioned in your blog post.

    Also, Global cancelled their 6pm newscasts on Sundays when they had the NFL. I don’t see how it would be an issue now.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      I’m referring to the minimum required hours of programming that you mentioned in your blog post.

      As I say in the post, CTV would still meet that requirement without the Sunday newscast.

      Reply
  3. Steve

    They’re going to bump Sunday’s News at 6:00
    and replace it with a “Mini” Cast. This will open
    up the spot for Rodgers Montreal. This wedge
    could spread.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      Is Citytv losing their sunday 4pm NFL game simulcast ?

      The statement seems to suggest that this is the case, and Bell will be the exclusive rights holder.

      Reply
  4. Bill

    It’s a sad commentary where fans of the NFL can watch weekly games as well as the Super Bowl on CTV, over the air, while we can’t even watch the Grey Cup unless you have cable.

    So much for our “culture”

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      It’s a sad commentary where fans of the NFL can watch weekly games as well as the Super Bowl on CTV, over the air, while we can’t even watch the Grey Cup unless you have cable.

      You’re hardly the first person to note that. It comes up every year. It’s one of the unintended consequences of the CRTC’s simultaneous substitution regulations.

      Reply
      1. Bill

        I’m not talking about not having to get the local signal rather than the US based one so I can watch the ads, I’m talking about the fact that you can’t even watch the Grey Cup without access to cable TV whereas you can watch NFL games and the Super Bowl OTA on CTV.

        CTV will carry the Superbowl, but not the Grey Cup.

        That strikes me as a bit insane.

        Reply
        1. Fagstein Post author

          I fully understand what you’re talking about. My point is that it makes no business sense for CTV not to carry NFL games because they’re available free over-the-air and have huge advertising potential, while there’s a big business case for having the Grey Cup on TSN where it’s exclusive and people have to pay for it.

          You can make the argument that Bell Media should put national pride or some sense of cultural obligation above their search for profit, but the business argument for the current system remains the same. And the structure of our television regulatory system is largely to blame for that.

          Reply
          1. Bill

            “You can make the argument that Bell Media should put national pride or some sense of cultural obligation above their search for profit, but the business argument for the current system remains the same.”

            I don’t expect Bell to want to do that, but the CRTC should be making them do it.

            Reply
            1. Fagstein Post author

              I don’t expect Bell to want to do that, but the CRTC should be making them do it.

              How, exactly? What regulation should the CRTC impose on Bell that would require this? It would be an unprecedented step to pass a rule that requires a specific private broadcaster to broadcast a specific event on a specific channel.

              Reply
  5. Dilbert

    What is interesting to me here is that Bell will be, accidentally or on purpose, pushing more and more people back to OTA in order to receive the games as the integral US feed and not the chopped up Canadian stew that gets served.

    The risk they face is as people work to get OTA set up to receive games from the US all over Canada (because many places are close enough to do so) Bell in turn drives them away from getting that service from cable and sat providers, Bell included.

    Simsub rules are one of those things that just really need to go away over time. They are no longer realistic.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      What is interesting to me here is that Bell will be, accidentally or on purpose, pushing more and more people back to OTA in order to receive the games as the integral US feed and not the chopped up Canadian stew that gets served.

      How many people? I seriously doubt a statistically significant number of people are so outraged at simultaneous substitution that they’re setting up outdoor antennas to watch over-the-air stations across the border.

      Simsub rules are one of those things that just really need to go away over time. They are no longer realistic.

      I’m not sure what “realistic” is supposed to mean here. It’s real. It’s happening. And the business model of CTV, Global and City depends on it. It’s not a perfect system, but I haven’t seen much in the way of alternatives proposed that will do something other than send Canadian advertising money to U.S. border stations.

      Reply
      1. Dilbert

        “How many people? I seriously doubt a statistically significant number of people are so outraged at simultaneous substitution that they’re setting up outdoor antennas to watch over-the-air stations across the border.”

        Considering how ape-sh*t people get for the super bowl alone, it’s pretty safe to suggest that a full season of poorly sim-subbed programming would be enough to drive many to do the work. I know I would, because the sim-sub programming is generally butchered, and often seems to have nothing but the same two long run CTV commercials on them to fill time, including often killing off highlight inserts from other games.

        “I haven’t seen much in the way of alternatives proposed that will do something other than send Canadian advertising money to U.S. border stations.”

        You identify the problem but you fail to address the why… which generally is that the Canadian programming, even when showing the “same” programming from the US usually isn’t the same. More commercial time, less material such as bonus scenes or trailers, and without the force of the US scheduling the programming would run at all sorts of hours and days. Quite simply, even when the “same” product is offered, it’s often not exactly the same product. So given the choice, the viewers will tune into the original, and not the sim-subbed, cut up and hackneyed Canadian sourced version.

        It’s a more pressing issue because internet delivery is fast becoming the method of choice for many viewers. So now it’s no longer a question of just OTA or cable, there is also the issue of online sources, most of them “illegal” but insanely popular, some of them legal (but not available in Canada, a stopper which is easily bypassed for most people). Cord cutters are moving away from cable and sat programming, and moving towards a combination of OTA and online services to get what they want. It’s not a HUGE move yet, but then again, most people didn’t have media servers and video streaming to their TV in their homes a few years ago, now there are plenty of options, from “media server” PCs with HDMI outs that can directly play on your TV, to NAS (network attached storage) devices, networked TV sets (smart TV variations), and DLNA streaming of media inside your house and even wirelessly to all of your media devices.

        At some point the number of cracks in the system add up to point that people just start walking around the blocks. Sim-sub is, in this day and age, a dinosaur concept that just will not last. Digital data just does not magically stop at the border because you ask it nicely, each day we get closer to the point where it is much more economically feasible for the US networks to say “nope, won’t sell to Canada anymore” and to allow their border stations to earn more income, while making their own deals directly with Canadian consumers for things like streaming. There is a point where even the CRTC’s mandate will not stretch.

        It appears that Bell and the few other major player depend entirely on this crutch to keep themselves in business. The cracks are appearing every day. In the US, there are already clear numbers of people turning away from cable and sat service, turning to OTA and online sources. It’s a pretty similar trend to that of the landline phone, as more and more people are moving away from having a landline phone because it’s no longer useful or value for money.

        Reply
        1. Fagstein Post author

          Considering how ape-sh*t people get for the super bowl alone, it’s pretty safe to suggest that a full season of poorly sim-subbed programming would be enough to drive many to do the work.

          They go crazy on Super Bowl Sunday, then most forget about it. Because that’s the only day during the year when people care about the fact that they’re not seeing ads for DirecTV or Verizon. I haven’t seen any specific polling on the subject, but there’s no reason to believe that any significantly large number of people has acted in this way.

          the Canadian programming, even when showing the “same” programming from the US usually isn’t the same. More commercial time, less material such as bonus scenes or trailers

          I don’t know what bonus scenes you think American networks are showing on TV. But I’ve never felt like I’ve missed anything watching simsubbed U.S. programs, except when there’s a problem during live or delayed programming.

          It’s a more pressing issue because internet delivery is fast becoming the method of choice for many viewers.

          Sure. But what do we do about it? How does ending simultaneous substitution help Canadian broadcasting?

          each day we get closer to the point where it is much more economically feasible for the US networks to say “nope, won’t sell to Canada anymore” and to allow their border stations to earn more income

          Setting aside the fact that there’s no evidence of this happening (if anything Canadian broadcasters are acquiring more rights to U.S. programs on more platforms), most of the border stations aren’t owned by the networks, so I’m not sure if there’s as much of an incentive to help them out.

          It appears that Bell and the few other major player depend entirely on this crutch to keep themselves in business.

          Conventional television advertising represents a pretty small part of Bell’s bottom line. It’s their telecommunication services and broadcast distribution that are the real cash cows.

          Reply
          1. Dilbert

            “Sure. But what do we do about it? How does ending simultaneous substitution help Canadian broadcasting?”

            You almost got the point, and then it slipped out of your fingers. Sim-sub doesn’t “help” Canadian broadcasting, rather it’s the only thing that makes it economically viable, especially for the largest corporations who benefit from it. Without sim-sub rules, those companies would want to pay for the programming because there would be no income source – yet Canadians would still be able to see it on cable from the US networks. Sim-sub doesn’t “help”, it’s the only pole holding the tent up at this point.

            “Setting aside the fact that there’s no evidence of this happening (if anything Canadian broadcasters are acquiring more rights to U.S. programs on more platforms), most of the border stations aren’t owned by the networks, so I’m not sure if there’s as much of an incentive to help them out.”

            Perhaps you need to understand how the financial models of the US networks work, and how it differs from Canada. The border stations making more income means that they are more likely to stick with the network programming, which in turn gives the network more distribution for their national ads. It is much more complicated than that simple explanation, but in the end, the content producing networks profit from viewership in all forms.

            Bell “buying” the rights for other mediums is only an indication that they fear getting pushed out by this other delivery method. They are playing middle man in a field that some point may not require a middle man to happen. Bell is trying to get in now while they still have a chance to monopolize this distribution line, lest they become meaningless in the process at some point.

            “Conventional television advertising represents a pretty small part of Bell’s bottom line. It’s their telecommunication services and broadcast distribution that are the real cash cows.”

            The evidence says otherwise, and you contradict yourself to come to this conclusion. If Bell is paying more for more rights and expanding it’s offerings, it’s a good indication that there is money here. If it wasn’t very profitable, they wouldn’t be chasing it.

            Reality is that Bell faces the landline cutters in a declining legacy business, replaced mostly by internet services on the same sort of line. The demand for the internet and TV distribution (sat and Fibe) is driven not too surprisingly by content on the channels in question. Advertising income plus subscriber revenue plus “connection” income equals a billion a year or more profit.

            Bell wouldn’t be in the broadcasting game if they weren’t also in the distribution game. Their entire process for the last 20 years has been about getting their people onto all sides of the negotiating table, so that any deals done or any pricing benefits obtained always benefit them, no matter which way it goes.

            Local TV Matters was one of those great things, no matter which way that one went, Bell won.

            Most importantly, why would they fight for sim-sub if there wasn’t advertising money in it?

            Your answers here are contradicting themselves, which side are you going to choose?

            Reply
            1. Fagstein Post author

              Sim-sub doesn’t “help” Canadian broadcasting, rather it’s the only thing that makes it economically viable

              So how does getting rid of it benefit Canadian broadcasting?

              If Bell is paying more for more rights and expanding it’s offerings, it’s a good indication that there is money here. If it wasn’t very profitable, they wouldn’t be chasing it.

              I’m not arguing that television isn’t profitable for Bell (though that’s more because of all the specialty channels than because of CTV), but that doesn’t change the fact that Bell makes most of its money from telecommunications and Bell TV/Fibe. Bell Media represents only 12% of BCE’s revenue (and CTV is only a part of that), and telecommunications brings the rest.

              Local TV Matters was one of those great things, no matter which way that one went, Bell won.

              To be clear, the Local TV Matters campaign began before Bell bought CTV. It basically disappeared after the transaction.

              Most importantly, why would they fight for sim-sub if there wasn’t advertising money in it?

              There is advertising money in it. A lot.

              Reply
  6. Mario

    Curious to know who holds the rights to the NFL Sunday Ticket in Canada? Although it’s distributed to Canadian cable and satellite companies, is it owned by Bell? Rogers? I ask because the more games Bell broadcasts through their properties TSN/TSN2/CTV/CTV2/RDS/RDS2, the less of a need for people to subscribe to the NFL Sunday Ticket.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      Curious to know who holds the rights to the NFL Sunday Ticket in Canada?

      Everyone. Rogers used to have an exclusive deal, and Shaw before that, but that’s no longer the case. So any distributor who wants to add it can do so, and most of the big ones have it.

      the more games Bell broadcasts through their properties TSN/TSN2/CTV/CTV2/RDS/RDS2, the less of a need for people to subscribe to the NFL Sunday Ticket.

      That makes some sense, but there’s still plenty of games for Sunday Ticket. Next Sunday at 1pm, there are eight games scheduled. If you have CTV carrying one, CTV Two carrying another, and one each on TSN and TSN2, that’s still just four games. (RDS and RDS2 will go with the most popular ones, which will likely duplicate the one on CTV, CTV2 or TSN.) Even if you have satellite and can watch CTV stations across the country, that only adds a couple of games.

      Bell Media also has mobile and streaming rights to games, so it could theoretically air all of them. If fewer people buy NFL Sunday Ticket as a result, that’s the NFL’s problem.

      Reply
  7. Kyle Obenforte

    The interruptions for last night’s 49ers – Seahawks game was awful. They were constantly coming back midway through sentences, totally missing a kick-off and return. It was pathetic all around.

    And don’t even get me started on the 4th and 2 for San Fran in the 4th quarter. CTV broke for a fast commercial. I believe FOX did too with the original broadcast. CTV was showing another stupid truck commercial. But by the time they came back to the game, Kaepernick had made a big completion but we only got to see it as a replay!!! I’ve found out FOX made a fast cutback to the game action midway through the commercial, as the ref added 1 second more to the clock.

    I’ve had enough, and can’t put up with this anymore. I’m going to get Directv – just in time for the Superbowl. Time to start looking into this seriously.

    Reply

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