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Wait for the (Canadian) signal

McThoughts by John McPhee

Well the great – make that ‘super’ –  game is over for another year.

I watched it, along with about eight million other Canadians, but we didn’t get to see many of the ‘super’ commercials that garners almost as much hype and buzz as the actual game. (In fact, a 2010 Canadian Press survey found that Canadians prefer the ads aired during the Superbowl to the game itself!)

Instead, we got to see promo after promo of CTV and TSN programming. (I think I know their schedule by heart now!)

Several years ago I wrote about this. Living in the country and having a satellite instead of cable, we were exempt from the Canadian takeover of the airwaves. In the 1999 Superbowl, a friend watched the game on cable. She missed about 10 great commercials that I got to see via satellite.

Well that perq no longer exists, satellite airwaves have lost their independence too!

Apparently the US networks have to pay an extra fee to air their shows (and commercials) in Canada. It’s more profitable for them to instead sell the broadcast rights to a Canadian network, who then sells the ad air space.

It’s a numbers game. There were an estimated 111 million viewers watching the game (and ads) in the US compared to about only eight million in Canada – so why pay the extra?

I get that, but what I don’t like is when watching just a regular show, the switch to the Canadian signal is always late – or worse, early at the end of a show and you miss the final few seconds.

Also, watching a one-hour drama that’s being aired in Canada at the same time as the US network, we have to sit through about 40 promos for CityTV or Global shows – thank God for the mute button! (CBC is even worse because they don’t get much paid advertising.)

At least there’s always the Internet to see the commercials. Or better yet, a good book to turn to when I turn the TV off!

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