CRTC opens floor for comment on simsub penalties

The regulator is proposing that broadcasters and BDUs that make errors in executing simsub be penalized.
Copied from Playback - Copied from Media in Canada - Copied from Playback - Copied from Media in Canada - Copied from Playback - Copied from Media in Canada - Copied from Playback - Copied from Media in Canada - Copied from Playback - Copied from Media in Canada - Copied from Playback - Copied from Media in Canada - Copied from Playback - red tv

If you want to add your two cents on proposed regulations for simsub, now’s the time.

The CRTC has issued a notice of consultation and opened comments on its proposed Simultaneous Programming Service Deletion and simsub regulations. The finalization of the regulations is part of the Let’s Talk TV process, and the revised regulations are expected to come into force by the end of the year.

The open forum for comment is specific to proposed regulations around penalties for BDUs and broadcasters that make errors while implementing simsub.

The proceedings, which are open to the public, are an invitation to comment on the wording around the suggested amendments.

The new policy will amend the current regulations to penalize local broadcasters or BDUs for errors during transmission. If a local broadcaster is responsible for the error, it will either be temporarily disallowed from requesting simultaneous substitution or from requesting it for a specific type of programming. If, however, a BDU is responsible, it will have to financially compensate viewers for its error.

Decisions on penalties will be made on a case-by-case basis.

The majority of complaints around simsub have focused moreso on errors than its practice in general – save for the Super Bowl. The CRTC says it typically receives complaints when synchronization errors occur during key sports or entertainment shows. The outlier is the Super Bowl, which garners the most consumer complaints, albeit from a vocal minority of several hundred Canadians. 

The Super Bowl debate is not on the floor for the consultation notice issued this week. That is being appealed in a separate court case.

This week, Judy Davey, soon-to-be VP, media policy and marketing capabilities at the Association of Canadian Advertisers, argued that the decision reflects bad policy-making. The National Football League has also filed a motion to support Bell Canada and Bell Media’s appeal of the decision.

The regulator announced its decision to ban simsub for the Super Bowl in January this year.  The decision caused an uproar within the industry, and CRTC’s vice-chairman of broadcasting, Tom Pentefountas urged BDUs and broadcasters to “stop protecting the status quo” and to adapt to the changing times during a Future TV conference in May.