Canada tearing up ad playbook

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Canadian TV viewers have more commercials in their future, the country's communications watchdog said Thursday (HR 5/18).

Releasing its latest policy changes for over-the-air TV stations here, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission said it will progressively remove restrictions on advertising time limits for broadcasters, with the ultimate goal of removing all such restrictions by Sept. 1, 2009.

The CRTC said that moving from the current 12 minutes- per-hour primetime advertising limit to a completely market-driven model is aimed at giving broadcasters additional revenue to deal with increasing competition from cable channels, new media and other emerging digital platforms.

"The commission considers it essential that broadcasters have the flexibility to maximize advertising revenues to respond to the negative impact of audience fragmentation," the regulator said in a statement.

But while the CRTC aided conventional broadcasters by opening the door to more ads, it denied them on another front, shooting down a request that they receive fees from cable and satellite services for carriage of their TV signals.

The regulator said that the "current financial situation of conventional television broadcasters does not justify such a (fee-for-carriage) measure."
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