Super Bowl ratings down 39% for Bell Media

The media co attributed the decline to the CRTC's previous simsub ruling, and vows to continue to fight the decision.

Bell Media’s ratings for Super Bowl LI fell by 39% from the previous year, despite the company placing the sporting event in its first triple-simulcast CTV, CTV Two and TSN for Sunday’s game.

And, despite the best attempts by Bell Media and others to reverse the CRTC’s simsub ban in the months and weeks leading up to the event, the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons kicked off on Sunday without Canadian ads swapped in on U.S. channels.

Sunday’s broadcast drew an average audience of 4.47 million viewers across CTV, CTV Two and TSN, according to viewership data provided by Bell Media. Last year, 7.32 million tuned in to watch the game on CTV alone.

“It’s the outcome we predicted despite our efforts to mitigate the audience loss, and the support of the Canadian companies that stepped up to advertise on the domestic broadcast,” read a statement from Bell Media. “The CRTC’s decision is clearly having a direct and negative impact on Canadian viewers, advertisers, and the broader broadcasting and creative community. We’ll continue our fight alongside the NFL to reverse it.”

The CRTC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.  

In the week prior to the game, Bell Media tried to limit the potential impact of the simsub ban by blanketing the game across CTV, CTV Two and TSN, as well as offering viewers the chance to win prizes (including cash, a new car and tickets to next year’s game) by tuning in to Bell Media channels.

The regulatory ruling, announced by the CRTC in January 2015 following the Let’s Talk TV hearings, had also drawn the attention of the NFL, which moved to intervene on behalf of Bell Media, calling the decision “unreasonable.”

In August 2016, the CRTC issued the official order to remove simsub from the Super Bowl game starting in 2017.


From Playback Daily

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