September 19, 2014 – GATINEAU, QC: The Association of Canadian Advertisers (ACA) is calling on the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to ensure that Canada’s broadcasting system remains a healthy ad-supported marketplace that can continue to be its financial foundation. The ACA made the comments while appearing at CRTC’s ‘Let’s Talk’ hearings in Gatineau, Quebec, today. Held over the past two weeks, these wide-ranging hearings were designed to explore the current broadcasting environment and review possible approaches for a revised framework for television in Canada.

Appearing alongside their media agency partner association – the Canadian Media Directors’ Council (CMDC) – ACA provided comments to the Commission in four important areas:

Pick-and-pay. The Commission is exploring the idea of allowing viewers to be able to choose and pay for only those stations they wish to receive. ACA cautioned, however, that on this basis many stations will probably not survive and those would likely be the very stations that attract special segments and/or light TV viewers. This would negatively impact advertisers who are trying to target their unique customers.

Removing barriers. Consumers have never had such choice in viewing options as now, however they quite often choose American channels which are not Canadian advertising friendly. ACA suggested to the Commission that removing barriers for advertisers to access ‘local availabilities’ and non-simultaneous program substitutions would not only go a long way toward repatriating lost Canadian audiences, but inject much needed funding into the broadcasting system.

Simultaneous substitution. It’s important to remember that though these shows may be American in origin, their audiences are 100 percent Canadian, and the very kind of audiences that advertisers in Canada are seeking to reach. “This is the kind of barrier we don’t need removed,” said Bob Reaume, Vice President, Policy & Research at ACA. “In fact, taking this substantial amount of inventory from the marketplace will only create increased demand and cost pressures for what little Canadian TV audiences are left and quite likely force advertisers to transfer ad budgets to other media.”

Set-top-box (STB) audience measurement. The Commission has asked for comments on establishing a new STB-based audience measurement system. In their comments to the Commission, ACA stated that they whole-heartedly support this idea. Not only will it result in more accurate measurement, but an STB-based system could provide enhanced metrics such as commercial audiences to be used as a currency. With commercial audience data, advertisers could plan and buy TV with more accuracy and confidence.

For over sixty years, ad-supported television has been an essential marketing tool for advertisers. Last year Canadian advertisers invested over three and a half billion dollars in the medium.