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CRTC authorizes TVA Sports (and RDS) to air more advertising per broadcast hour
Credit: More advertising can be broadcast during our sports programs.
I don’t know if you’re like me, but I find that there are more ads than ever during my favorite TV shows. Since the pandemic, it seems to be worse than ever.

An online gambling site, a second, a third, a sponsor for one 18-second segment, another for the next, a banner ad at the bottom of the screen that prevents me from seeing the puck properly during the game, a virtual rectangle behind each of the nets, virtual ads on the boards that jump out when the puck moves too fast…

I know it’s a tough business these days, but I was one of those who hoped to see fewer ads on RDS and TVA Sports this season. But no more!

Unfortunately, I was not heard. My wish didn’t come true.

The CRTC has just handed down a decision that will enrage many this morning:

“In Broadcasting Notice of Consultation 2022-272, the Commission sought comments on the application filed by Québecor Media Inc. on behalf of TVA Group Inc. to remove the advertising time limit of 12 minutes per clock hour on its discretionary services, as well as on the possibility of removing this limit for other discretionary services.”

– Broadcasting Regulatory Policy CRTC 2023-306 and Broadcasting Order CRTC 2023-307

What does all this mean?

That Quebecor has asked the CRTC to no longer limit specialty channels and any other discretionary services offering TV content to “only” 12 minutes of advertising per hour…

And that the CRTC – as unearthed by colleague Marco Normandin – has approved Quebecor’s request.

In short, TVA Sports and RDS couldn’t broadcast more than 12 minutes of advertising per hour before this year… but they can now.

More advertising will be able to run during our sports programs.

(Credit: YouTube)
I spoke with a CRTC employee this morning and she confirmed that there will no longer be a restriction on advertising per hour at TVA Sports.

How many minutes of advertising per hour will they broadcast from now on? 13? 15? 16? 18?

Will we see as much advertising on TVA Sports as we do on hit shows like the late, great District 31 or Tout le monde en parle?

Unfortunately, my messages to LP Neveu, General Manager of TVA Sports, went unanswered.

The industry is going through an advertising crisis, and I’m a prime witness to that… but adding advertising to already highly publicized content wouldn’t have been my solution if I’d been at the decision-making table. Especially when the enemy you’re talking about – digital services – doesn’t broadcast much of it. Because yes, Quebecor has defended the idea that they should be able to increase their minutes of advertising per hour in order to compete with the digital universe, which is taking up more and more space…

But in my opinion, this will only slow down the inevitable. Digital isn’t shaking in fear this morning, and it will continue its ascent. Apple TV, DAZN and Fubo are all signs that they’ll continue to expand in the future, and a few more minutes of advertising per hour on traditional TV won’t stop them!

Still, it’s interesting to see Quebecor win a battle fought on the CRTC field. Need I remind you of all the battles the group has lost, notably to Bell Media?

Incidentally, I can’t wait to see whether RDS will increase its advertising ratio per hour following this decision. They have the upper hand this morning: they can either take advantage on the sly of a battle they didn’t fight… or they can position themselves on the right side by claiming loud and clear that they’re being nice and that they won’t change their format in order to “continue to please viewers”.

In closing, this kind of decision is more likely to affect the broadcasting of traditional programs like JiC, for example, and not live sports. Why? Because the advertising windows offered by the various leagues and teams are already quite optimized at the moment. Take soccer, for example: there’s no break for about 50 minutes, then half-time, then another 50 minutes without commercials. It’s hard to change that. Perhaps that’s why the various traditional channels generally fail to make this property profitable, but that’s another matter…

In Brief

– The wheels are still spinning in Brossard.

Go Canada Go!

Bruce There It Is!

– No, ECHL players aren’t rolling in it. $600 a week

– What a character!

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