Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Record 9.23 Million Canadians Watched 2015 Super Bowl

Photo Credit: Rawlings

Super Bowl XLIX was best defined as the game New England Patriots fended-off a late game charge to win over the Seattle Seahawks 28-24. While the players of one team left the field victorious with the ultimate prize of being NFL champions, the football game was a massive win for television stations broadcasting the game. In the United States, NBC quickly sold 30-second commercial spots for 4.5 million dollars ahead of the Super Bowl and recorded consistent viewership of 114.4 million Americans watching the close, suspense-filled match. An all-new record for a Super Bowl broadcast, the 2015 game's peak viewership topped out at 120.8 million through a late New England Patriots drive for a touchdown. In Canada, the 49th annual football game was also a ratings blockbuster.

Between CTV and the French-language RDS sports channel, Super Bowl XLIX drew an average audience of 9.23 million viewers according to Bell Media making it the most-watched edition of the game ever in this country. The 2015 game breaks the 8.18 million audience that watched the 2012 Super Bowl tournament between the New England Patriots and New York Giants.

While the majority of Canadian audiences were accounted watching CTV, there was a million Francophone viewers alone. Over the course of the Super Bowl telecast in this country, 19.3 million unique members of the Canadian population watched the game at some part in the Sunday evening. The total number of viewers meant roughly 55 percent of Canada's total population watched the Super Bowl. Bell Media also noted that the event's halftime show drew 12.2 million in this country consisting of Katy Petty singing alongside guests Lenny Kravitz and Missy Elliott.

Once again, Canadian viewers of "The Big Game" lost out on seeing a majority of the highly-produced commercials created for the NBC airing of the game. Leading up to this year's Super Bowl, a CRTC ruling decried after 2016 that Canadian broadcasts could no longer replace the American advertisements with others supplied through the telecast provider in this country. Called simultaneous substitution, this is a common practice exercised in Canadian broadcasting for almost any broadcast from the United States shown as the same time in Canada. For Super Bowl XLIX, the result was commercials from Canadian Armed Forces, Tim Hortons, Government of Canada, PC Financial and Home Hardware making it to air on CTV.

Explained as a response to the CRTC's public consultation Let’s Talk TV: A Conversation with Canadians, the plan to outlaw simultaneous substitution has not sat well with Bell Media and its parent company Bell Canada Enterprises (BCE). Bell owns the rights to the Canadian broadcast of the Super Bowl and would lose autonomy in distributing their ad space. Days following the ruling, the notion of discontinuing simultaneous substitution was greatly argued by pundits (many against the CRTC coming from Bell-owned media companies). BCE noted the influence of sponsors in their press release saying, "Last night's record audience proves once again there is no better opportunity for Canadian advertisers to strike a chord with Canadian viewers than the Super Bowl.". Bell Media properties also received considerable ad time throughout the 2015 game.   

After the record 2015 Super Bowl, 1.35 million Canadians remained on CTV to watch the season 2 premiere of Masterchef Canada.

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