Regulator bans simultaneous ad substitution during Super Bowl, starting in 2017

LONDON, Ont. – Canada’s broadcast regulator is banning the substitution of Canadian advertisements over American ads during the Super Bowl.

The decision won’t take effect in time for this Sunday’s game, but it could be in place for next year if Bell Media — the rights holder for the 2016 event — waives its rights to switch ads.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission says the new rule will be officially in place for the 2017 Super Bowl.

Television networks will, however, still be allowed to simultaneously substitute advertising on programming broadcast over local TV stations, but not on specialty channels.

CRTC chairman Jean-Pierre Blais also warns that penalties could be imposed on broadcasters if the ad switching disrupts programming enough for viewers to complain.

In a speech to a London, Ont., business gathering today, Blais also announced that broadcasters will lose the ability to switch ads, along with mandatory carriage privileges on cable and satellite services, if they shut down transmitters that allow Canadians access to free, over-the-air TV signals.

Blais also announced today that the CRTC is ordering Bell Mobility and Videotron to stop giving their own mobile television services an unfair advantage over other Internet services.

The two companies have exempted their own mobile television services from their standard monthly data charges while content from other websites or apps is counted against a customer’s data cap.

Videotron had already indicated it was ceasing the practice by the end of 2014, but the CRTC says it wants proof of that by March 31.

Bell Mobility is being given until April 29 to stop doing it.