Why can’t I watch the American ads during the Super Bowl

With the Super Bowl airing on Sunday, we know part of the fun is watching all the new commercials that air on NBC in the U.S.

Last year, we explained why we don’t see the same advertising spots in Canada. Fortunately, there are ways to see the commercials airing in the U.S. here and here.

On the regulatory front, we wanted to give you an update on where things stand.

You may have seen the “simultaneous substitution” discussion in the CRTC’s Let’s Talk TV hearing held last year. In its Working Document for Discussion, the CRTC provided two options: to get rid of simultaneous substitution entirely so that no programming would ever be covered over by the same programming provided by a Canadian broadcaster, or to stop simultaneous substitution for live events such as sports or award shows. This option would mean that Canadians could watch the Super Bowl with American ads. On January 29, 2015 the CRTC announced that simultaneous substitution will be banned for the Super Bowl starting 2017. You can read more details here.

Canadian broadcasters who appeared at the Let’s Talk TV hearing expressed concern about the loss of revenue if the simultaneous substitution regime was abolished.

While we continue to support the simultaneous substitution regime because it protects Canadian broadcast rights, we also see room for improvement. This is why we joined the recently-formed industry Working Group on Simultaneous Substitution, which will focus on examining the most commonly reported complaints to determine what measures might help reduce those errors further.

We’ll keep you updated on any progress. In the meantime, enjoy the game!