Tag Archives: Super Bowl ads

Super Bowl commercials FTW

The Gazette’s Denise Duguay reports that Videotron did not, in fact, substitute its NBC HD channel for CTV HD as CTV’s press release suggested it would, meaning she was one of the few Canadians to watch NBC’s Super Bowl commercials without having to hook up an antenna.

Of course, for those who want to see them, they’re all over the place online: Just for Laughs, Spike, NFL, FanHouse, YouTube, MySpace. Some include so-called “banned ads” and other attention-grabbers.

Dominic Arpin provides some of his favourite ads. But really, they all suck.

Oh, and that was a good game today, even if I could pay only half attention to it.

CTV ruins Super Bowl ad fun

This blog post is from 2009. For the latest details, click here.

It’s Super Bowl Sunday, and for those of you who have no idea which NFL teams are playing in the big game, you’ll probably want to avoid CTV.

The national television network is carrying over 10 hours of Super Bowl coverage on the main network, plus a bunch of stuff on TSN and even MuchMusic and Space (convergence marketing yay!)

We’ll remind you at this point that the Grey Cup, the championship game of the Canadian Football League, wasn’t carried on CTV but rather CTV-owned TSN.

In case you’re more interested in the commercials than the show (CTV News says it’s one of the big reasons to watch, without a hint of irony), well there’s bad news for you. CTV has ensured that as many loopholes are closed as possible to prevent Canadian viewers from seeing any non-CTV commercials. Bell TV is being forced to simultaneously substitute CTV for NBC nationwide, and Videotron has apparentl agreed to do the same across the province, according to the CTV press release I’ve pasted below.

CTV is planning on giving Canadians access to the commercials online (assuming I’m reading this correctly) at the Just for Laughs website. But I don’t think that’ll satisfy viewers.

So during the broadcast, we’ll be stuck with whatever CTV has to offer (assuming they even fill all their spots). We don’t even get the privilege of a spousal cheating ad.

Those of you who want to (legally) watch NBC’s Super Bowl commercials live have one remaining option: Hook up an antenna to your TV and tune in to WPTZ.

CTV blocks commercials yay!

CTV Delivers SUPER BOWL XLIII in Stunning High Definition and 5.1 Surround Sound to Quebec Viewers

– Bruce Springsteen highlights half-time show on CTV –

Toronto, ON (January 30, 2009) – CTV confirmed today that viewers in Quebec will be able to see complete coverage of SUPER BOWL XLIII in stunning High Definition and 5.1 Surround Sound on CTV HD. Despite suggestions otherwise, CTV’s presentation of SUPER BOWL XLII will feature “spectacular image and sound quality” on CTV HD, available to Videotron, Bell TV, Star Choice and Cogeco subscribers.

CTV’s exclusive Canadian coverage of SUPER BOWL XLIII, featuring the Pittsburgh Steelers taking on the Arizona Cardinals, begins at 12 noon ET from Tampa, FL, with six hours of pre-game programming (visit CTV.ca to confirm local broadcast times). The CTV HD broadcast will include the greatly-anticipated half-time show featuring Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street band.

CTV encourages viewers interested in SUPER BOWL commercials to visit www.justforlaughs.com/superbowl, where many of this year’s advertisements have already been posted.

Calling the SUPER BOWL on CTV is the NFL broadcast team of Emmy Award-winners Al Michaels (play-by-play) and John Madden (colour analyst), while reporters Andrea Kremer and Alex Flanagan patrol the sidelines. Emmy Award-winner Bob Costas hosts the pre-game, post-game and halftime shows alongside co-hosts Cris Collinsworth, Keith Olbermann and Dan Patrick, studio analysts Tiki Barber and Jerome Bettis, reporter Peter King, and special guests – and SUPER BOWL champions – Tony Dungy, Mike Holmgren and Matt Millen. The SUPER BOWL halftime show, sponsored in Canada by Diet Pepsi, features Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, while Faith Hill sings ‘America the Beautiful’ and Academy Award-winner Jennifer Hudson sings the national anthem prior to kickoff.

For more information on CTV’s extensive multi-platform coverage of SUPER BOWL XLIII, click here.

CRTC Roundup: No Super Bowl loopholes this year

For the latest on Super Bowl ads on Canadian cable and satellite, click here.

Note: This post has been corrected. I originally confused the two rulings for satellite companies as being the same. In fact, the Commission ruled in different ways for the two. Thanks to Patrick for pointing out the error.

Catching up on some CRTC broadcasting news over the holidays:

A complaint filed by CTV against Bell and Shaw, which run our two national satellite TV providers, has resulted in an order from the broadcast regulator forcing the two providers to close loopholes allowing Canadian viewers to see U.S. commercials during the Super Bowl.

Last year, both Bell TV (formerly Bell ExpressVu) and Shaw’s StarChoice concocted a scheme whose logic was something like this:

  1. The CRTC requires broadcast distributors (i.e. cable and satellite companies) to use “simultaneous substitution” to replace U.S. channels with Canadian ones when both are airing the same show. This is so that Canadian networks get all the advertising money. Normally nobody cares that they’re seeing Canadian commercials instead of American ones, but the Super Bowl is the one time of the year when people want to watch the commercials. Canadian Super Bowl commercials just don’t measure up.
  2. The CRTC rules have some loopholes. The substitution is only done when requested by the Canadian network, it’s only done when the Canadian signal is of equal or better quality than the U.S. one (which caused some issues in the early days of HD), and it’s only done in markets that have a Canadian over-the-air broadcaster.
  3. CTV had high-definition broadcasters only in Toronto and Vancouver, so simultaneous substitution of the Fox HD signal is only necessary in those two markets
  4. Bell and StarChoice developed a way to substitute the signal only for Toronto and Vancouver markets, and kept the Fox HD signals unsubstituted outside those markets for the benefit of Canadians wanting to watch the U.S. Super Bowl commercials. Viewers outside those markets would be given a choice of watching a substituted signal or an unsubstituted one.

CTV complained, and the CRTC agreed, that Bell TV is required to substitute those channels nationally, even for customers in markets where there is no Canadian broadcaster carrying the HD signal, because that is the method of substitution they currently use. The company, it said, can’t decide to use one method or the other depending on which is more convenient.

It dismissed Bell’s suggestion that the Super Bowl is an exception because it’s a “pop culture phenomenon”. CTV’s response to that:

CTV added that those viewers who really want to see the U.S. commercials can download them from the Internet within minutes after their being broadcast during the game.

The result is that Bell has to assure CTV in advance that simultaneous substitution will in fact take place for SD and HD signals nationally, and that Canadian subscribers not be given access to the U.S. commercials. Period.

In the case of StarChoice, the CRTC took a different tact. Unlike Bell TV, StarChoice substitutes channels locally through the receiver. They receive the U.S. signals, but are programmed to substitute them based on local requirements. This is the CRTC’s preferred method of substitution, as it protects local broadcasters. Since StarChoice didn’t deviate from their normal practice when they allowed subscribers outside of Toronto to view the U.S. Super Bowl feed, the CRTC ruled they are in compliance.

The CRTC did slap Shaw on the wrist about its cable TV service, which it said did not properly substitute the HD signal in 2008, but accepted the explanation that there were “technical difficulties” because Shaw had only started substitution for HD signals a month before the broadcast. They’re on a form of probation for the 2009 Super Bowl, with orders to take special steps to ensure substitution takes place as required.

The Super Bowl, which I think is a game of rugby or something, airs on Feb. 1 on NBC and CTV.

More commercial substitution

An unrelated issue, which the CRTC will debate next month, concerns “local availabilities of non-Canadian services

If you’ve ever watched CNN and noticed commercials for Viewer’s Choice Pay-per-view or some other Canadian channel, this is what they’re talking about. Canadian broadcast distributors are allowed to override commercials on U.S. networks, but only to put in programming ads. They can’t put in their own commercial advertisements. At least, not yet. They’re arguing to get that privilege.

Personally, so long as the advertising substitution is negotiated with the U.S. network, and it doesn’t disrupt service, I don’t see a problem letting this happen.


LCN has received approval to increase the amount of opinion and analysis programming during its broadcast day from 12% to 19%. CBC argued against the change, saying it would reduce the amount of news programming, which would hurt francophones outside of Quebec.

(As an aside, has anyone watched RDI and LCN and noticed how much local Montreal news and how little local news from outside Quebec are on those channels? It makes sense – that’s where their audience is – but neither is really a national news channel)

LCN argued it needs to adapt to a quickly changing media environment, which I’m sure you know favours opinionated blowhards shouting their mouths off in prime time over any sort of actual news gathering.


Astral Media has received approval to add sitcom and drama programming to its MPix service, which used to be about movies. It’s limited to 15% of its content coming from those categories, and they have to be at least five years old, but I still find it kind of silly that they want to add sitcoms to a movie channel.

They’ve also gotten a reduction in the lead time between a movie’s release and the time they can start airing it, from five years to three years.


SuperChannel, a pay TV network which wants to compete with The Movie Network and Movie Central, is still trying to get carried on some cable providers, including Videotron, despite an order from the CRTC that gives it “must carry” status.

Videotron has refused, citing some minority language rule that I don’t quite understand and probably doesn’t make any sense.

SuperChannel notes that Quebecor applied for a similar service and was turned down in favour of SuperChannel, and this might be payback for that rejection.

De-CanConing The Movie Network

The Movie Network has gotten approval to reduce its Canadian content requirements by getting extra credit for priority programming. This extra credit system came after the CRTC and media watchdogs noticed that Canadian broadcasters preferred certain cheap kinds of programming (like reality shows) over more expensive dramas. So the CRTC decided it would let broadcasters claim 150% credit for dramas and other expensive programming, to encourage them to create more of it.

Digital Home calls this a “weakening of Canadian content regulations“, though it’s entirely consistent with CRTC policy, as flawed as that may be.