Do you know what the most pressing issue is for the CRTC? Chairman Jean-Pierre Blais says this Sunday’s Super Bowl broadcast is an event Canadians must see unaltered which means Canadian broadcaster, CTV, can’t substitute Canadian ads in place of American commercials.
Apparently, it is the God-given right of all Canadians to see non-simulcast broadcasts.
This inexplicable CRTC decision has generated outrage and CTV stands to lose millions of ad revenue dollars. The network has already laid-off some staff and the NFL is frothing mad too taking its complaint about the CRTC decision all the way to President Trump.
CTV and the NFL have every right to be livid. The CRTC has no mandate to interfere with a valid business decision between a private broadcaster and a professional sports league.
Broadcasting’s version of Big Brother thinks it’s in the “public interest” for Canadians to see the U.S. feed unaltered. Note to CRTC: all those U.S. ads have been available to Canadians for years now via that little thingy called the Internet.
Since the early ’70s, Canadian broadcasters have purchased U.S. network shows with the right to substitute U.S. commercials for Canadian ads. These simulcast commercials are reportedly worth about $200M in annual advertising revenue to Canadian broadcasters.
If this CRTC edict survives a court challenge, Canadian broadcasters will be kicked to the curb, which is especially worrisome given that ad revenues are already in decline.
But, does the CRTC really care about the needs and wants of Canadians and Canadian broadcasters?
With this recent decision on the Super Bowl broadcast, a legitimate business deal between a Canadian broadcaster and a U.S. sports league has been put through the bureaucratic shredder because it’s a matter of public interest?
Methinks the CRTC is on thin ice with this bonehead move. Is there really a valid need any more for the CRTC?
I say, let’s move toward open skies and allow the marketplace – not a bunch of Ottawa bureaucrats – to sort things out.