David R. Henderson  

Great Moments in Responsive Government Regulation

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"Canadians have told us loud and clear: advertising is part of the spectacle" associated with the [Super Bowl] game, Jean-Pierre Blais, chairman of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, said Thursday [January 29, 2015].
This is from Paul Vieira, "Canadians to See Super Bowl Ads--in 2017," Wall Street Journal, January 30, 2015.

The CRTC, Canada's version of the FCC, is, I believe, the first regulatory agency I ever criticized in print (in 1971).

Here's the background, from Mr. Vieira's article:

Canada mandates "simultaneous substitution" on over-the-air channels, requiring Canadian cable- and satellite-TV companies to distribute a local signal instead of a U.S. signal when two stations air the same programming at the same time. The rule, which draws advertising revenue to Canadian-owned networks, means viewers watch the U.S. show but see Canadian commercials, regardless of whether they choose a Canadian or American station.

Vieira explains further:
The practice is typically a nonissue, but draws widespread criticism during the Super Bowl, when the 8 million Canadians who tune into the game don't get to see the ads that have become an event in their own right.

Canadians told the CRTC "loud and clear" about their objections to this practice during Super Bowl.

And that's why Mr. Blais is acting so quickly. He's relaxing the regulation only 2 Super Bowls after this "loud and clear" objection.

Keep in mind, whenever you advocate regulation to achieve ends you desire, that the regulators move at a snail's pace. Though that might be unfair to snails.

Comments and Sharing

COMMENTS (4 to date)
Michael Byrnes writes:

When I saw this title I thought you were going to leave the whole post blank. :)

JK Brown writes:

Well, with this year's crop of commercials, the Canadians got the better end of the deal. Perhaps they'll hire on some better ad men for the 2017 game?

After this year's depressing lot, we need to see a spike in the unemployment rate for advertising workers.

Tracy W writes:

I recall once, working on a contract for a NZ regulator, putting a minor regulatory change through which even though everyone agreed with it, still took 8 months.

Aaron R. writes:

Watch them come back in late 2016 and say that the objections are outmoded or stale and renege. Perhaps they will decide at the last moment that they need to reconsider their response to the objections.

My bet is that there will be no change at all. This is an empty promise.

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