ARCHIVED - Broadcasting Procedural Letter addressed to Pamela Dinsmore (Rogers Communications Partnership)

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Ottawa, 27 May 2015

By email

Ms. Pamela Dinsmore
Vice President, Regulatory
Rogers Communications Partnership

Re: Improperly executed simultaneous substitution errors regarding David Letterman Show of 20 May 2015

Ms. Dinsmore,

The Commission has received several complaints regarding improperly executed simultaneous substitutions by Rogers Cable that took place on 20 May 2015 near the end of the final David Letterman show. You will find attached the details of the complaints we have received to date regarding the issue.

As you are aware, being the last David Letterman show, this was a significant television event. This program was extensively advertised and a large number of viewers were expected to watch the program, either live or on a delayed (recorded) basis.

In Broadcasting Regulatory Policy 2015-25, the Commission announced its intention to introduce meaningful consequences should broadcasters and distributors make recurring, substantial errors. For example, if the error was made by a local broadcaster, it would lose the privilege to request simultaneous substitution for a period of time or for a type of programming. If the error was made by the distributor, it would have to provide a compensatory rebate to its customers.

Moreover, the industry has been meeting regularly to determine how to make improvements to the mechanisms and processes by which simultaneous substitutions are undertaken to ensure that these are executed seamlessly.

With such focus put on the execution of simultaneous substitutions in the last few months, it is surprising that these errors continue to happen – particularly during such a widely-publicized television event.

With regard to each complaint, please provide by 2 June 2015, answers to the following questions.

  1. Provide details of each substitution that was executed a) at the end; and b) immediately after the David Letterman show by Rogers’ BDUs, including the following:
    • The U.S. station over which the Canadian signal was substituted;
    • The Canadian station that was substituted over the U.S. station; and
    • The exact timing of each substitution (beginning, end, and any interruptions of signal substitution).
  2. Indicate how many substitutions were to take place at the same time as the scheduled end of the David Letterman show (not including any other substitutions regarding the David Letterman show).
  3. Explain how the error occurred, including such details as:
    • Each substitution  request received from Mediastats (for and immediately after the David Letterman show), including exact timing and any special instructions included regarding these substitutions;
    • Whether you received any advance warning from any other party that the program in question could go longer than scheduled;
    • Whether or not the programs were being actively monitored and, if so, how many staff were actively monitoring substitutions at the time the David Letterman show was scheduled to end;
    • How much time it took for Rogers to notice the improperly executed substitution and what, if any, actions were taken subsequently (include exact timing for each action).
    • Why, in this case, active monitoring did not result in properly executed substitutions;
  4. Provide details on the number of complaints received by Rogers and how Rogers’ customer service representatives responded to subscribers that complained.
  5. Provide details of any compensatory measures offered to any of the subscribers who complained, if any.
  6. Explain what new measures will be taken to avoid similar situations in the future.


Original signed by

Donna Gill
Senior Manager
Distribution Regulatory Policy

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