Netflix urged to create Canadian content

Netflix Building41-620x413The Ontarian government has seemingly suggested over-the-top service providers should either produce local Canadian programming or pay for not doing so, following remarks made this week.

Assistant deputy minister for the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport for the Canadian region of Ontario Kevin Finnerty has called on media regulator the CRTC to create conditions that would mean the likes of Netflix should face “financial obligations” for the operating in the territory.

Finnerty said the CRTC should “put thresholds in place now that would permit future Cancon [Canadian content] financial obligations for foreign over-the-top providers”, according to remarks from a filing posted online by Canuck law professor Michael Geist.

In effect, this means Netflix, which already operates in Canada, and any future entrants to the market would be obligated to produce local Canadian content – much like most traditional broadcast and cable services are – or pay not to produce programming.

The remarks appear to treat Canadian on-demand platforms differently, meaning the new Shaw-Rogers SVOD platform Shomi would not face similar content obligations.

However, Finnerty also recommended the “unlicensed” SVOD markets should be brought in line with traditional TV regulation. “The ministry believes the best way to accomplish this is to expand the regulation of new media TV, rather than by lightening the current regulation of traditional TV,” he said.

The Canadian government is thought to oppose such taxes.

Netflix is producing a drama in France, Marseille, following tough regulatory negotiations, and is known to be producing a £100 million (US$160 million) drama about the British queen in the UK. It has also vowed to create local German programming.