Big-time Super Bowl ads to reach Canada by 2017

Thu Jan 29, 2015 10:59am EST
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TORONTO Jan 29 (Reuters) - Millions of Canadian viewers of the U.S. Super Bowl football game will soon be able to enjoy all the high-priced advertising fed to their southern neighbors, the country's broadcast regulator said on Thursday.

For years, Canadian viewers have complained that the ads - which for this Sunday's game cost as much as $4.5 million for a 30-second spot - have been out of reach, replaced by Canadian broadcasters with less impressive domestic ads that can be mistimed and result in viewers missing some of the on-field action.

A ban on simultaneous substitution, the process by which a Canadian broadcaster can insert domestic ads into programming, will come into force for Super Bowl broadcasts starting in 2017, the regulator, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), said.

But simsub, as the ad substitution process is known, will remain in place for all other broadcasts, the CRTC said. The regulator estimates the practise is worth some C$250 million ($198 million) a year to Canadian broadcasters, although it is not clear how much of that income comes from the Super Bowl, which 8 million Canadians watched last year.

The current Super Bowl TV rights holder for Canada, BCE Inc's Bell Media, can choose to waive its right to insert domestic ads in 2016, the CRTC said.

($1-$1.26 Canadian) (Reporting by Alastair Sharp; Editing by Peter Galloway)