Super Bowl a Canadian ad sellout

CTV to replace CBS feed, air own Canadian ads

TORONTO -- The Super Bowl is an advertising sellout for CTV in Canada.

Ad rates are also up slightly compared to last year, which is welcome news considering the Canadian ratings for last year's National Football League championship game on CTV fell 14% to just over 3.66 million viewers, against 4.2 million in 2008.

The French-language RDS telecast in Quebec last year drew another 706,000 viewers for CTV.

Next Sunday, CTV plans a six-hour pre-game show for the New Orleans Saints and Indianapolis Colts match-up, leading up to the Canadian telecast of CBS' Superbowl feed from Miami.

The Canadian broadcaster signed up Hyundai as a major sponsor this year, along with Ford, Wal-Mart, Royal Bank of Canada and Subway.

CTV made headlines last year when it refused to run a 30-second spot from the Ashley Madison Agency, a "discreet dating service" judged by the broadcaster to be promoting adultery.

As in past years, CTV, as the exclusive Canadian broadcaster of the Super Bowl, will replace the CBS feed and air its own Canadian commercials.

The CRTC, Canada's TV regulator, last year closed loopholes that allowed Canadian viewers to see U.S. commercials during the Super Bowl via non-simulcasts of the U.S. signal from cable operator Shaw Communications and satellite TV service Bell ExpressVu.

This year, Quebec cable giant Groupe Videotron found its own loophole that will allow it to show the CBS HD signal with U.S. ads to its subscribers.

CTV has over-the-air HD transmitters in Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto, but not in Videotron's Quebec territory.

So Videotron cannot be compelled by the CRTC to simulcast the CTV feed in HD.