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Ottawa, 24 January 2014

Keith Pelley
Rogers Media
333 Bloor Street East, 6th Floor
Toronto, ON M4W 1G9

David Purdy
Senior Vice-President of Content
Rogers Cable
333 Bloor Street East, 7th Floor
Toronto, On M4W 1G9

Dear Messrs. Pelley and Purdy:

Further to CTV Television’s broadcast of the NFL playoff game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks on January 19, I was dismayed to read the following Twitter exchange:

cat ‏@AmeriCanadian2 @RogersHelps I hate Rogers! I just want to watch #SFvsSEA on @FOXSports w/out the same stupid @CTV_Television commercials!

RogersHelps ‏@RogersHelps @AmeriCanadian2 Hello, sorry to to hear your're upset about missing the commercials but it's not up to us to make that choice. ^map

cat ‏@AmeriCanadian2 @RogersHelps Thank you for the response. I'm not sure what you're saying. Is it possible to just watch FOX w/out CTV? Why does CTV takeover?

RogersHelps ‏@RogersHelps @AmeriCanadian2 It's due to the CRTC rules so no way to watch the Fox feed sorry. ^map

As you are aware, there are a number of misconceptions and a certain frustration among Canadian television viewers regarding simultaneous substitution. These are often expressed at this time of year—specifically, during the NFL playoffs and following the broadcast of the Super Bowl game.

Canadian broadcasters enjoy simultaneous substitution since it allows them to protect the rights of the programs they have acquired for broadcast in our country. It provides local stations with revenues to maintain their operations and offer local and international programming to their audiences. In addition, simultaneous substitution contributes to the Canadian economy through the jobs created by broadcasters and advertisers, as well as the taxes paid by these companies and their employees.

Broadcasters have indicated that they benefit tremendously from simultaneous substitution. They have earned many millions of dollars in ad revenues since 1972, when the CRTC first allowed broadcasters to replace American signals with their own. In addition, many television distributors in Canada are now part of the same corporate family as those very broadcasters. As such, members of the broadcasting industry—both broadcasters and distributors—must share in the duty of ensuring that simultaneous substitution is done correctly. They must also share in the responsibility of explaining to Canadians the policy’s benefits and in correcting misinformation in the public sphere.

There is an important distinction to be made between authorizing broadcasters to substitute signals and forcing them to do so. As I said at the 2013 Prime Time in Ottawa conference, the time has come for broadcasters and distributors to start speaking up on simultaneous substitution rather than simply passing blame onto the CRTC.

In an effort to ensure Canadians do not receive contradictory information from the CRTC and Rogers, it would be appreciated if you could remind your customer service representatives that broadcasters choose whether to substitute signals and that both the broadcaster and the distributor are responsible for the quality of the substitution.

I would also ask you to provide a report outlining the training your customer service representatives receive on this issue, as well as copies of fact sheets or other materials at their disposal.

This information will assist the CRTC in its ongoing monitoring of Canadians’ concerns regarding simultaneous substitution and other issues relating to their television system.

I thank you in advance.


Jean-Pierre Blais
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

CC: Ms. Pamela Dinsmore, Vice-President, Regulatory Affairs, Rogers Communications Inc., 333 Bloor Street East, Toronto, ON M4W 1G9

Ms. Susan Wheeler, Vice-President, Regulatory Affairs, Rogers Communications Inc., 333 Bloor Street East, Toronto, ON M4W 1G9


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