Arguments that Netflix should be regulated by the CRTC have been swirling in one form or another for several years now, particularly since the service continues to grow in popularity. The streaming service, however, claims that it already makes substantial investments in Canadian content on its platform and that regulation is not necessary.
On Thursday, Netflix filed a new submission to the Canadian Heritage’s public consultation on homegrown content. The filing comes two years after Netflix first told the CRTC that it does not believe its service falls under the Canadian Broadcasting Act since the company doesn’t operate like a traditional broadcaster. While there’s merit to Netflix’s argument given that the company delivers its content via the internet, the platform has grown to hold a significant presence in Canada since its initial launch back in 2010.
In an interview with The Canadian Press, Elizabeth Bradley, vice-president of content at Netflix, said, “We want to continue to invest in content in Canada in the way we have, which means continuing to spend money but not under a system that’s similar to the Canadian broadcasters, where there’s regulation and paying into the Canada Media Fund.”
If Netflix were under the Canadian Broadcasting Act, the company would be required to make specific financial commitments to Canadian content. Netflix, however, states that it has already made significant investments in Canadian content, despite not being forced to do so under the Canadian Broadcasting Act.
Examples of Netflix content with Canadian involvement include Alias Grace and Anne, a remake of Anne of Green Gables that Netflix and the CBC will simulcast. The Trailer Park Boys, a true Canadian classic, is another example of Netflix’s efforts in Canada, along with Travellers, Frontier and Degrassi: The Next Class.
Netflix claims that in 2016 it has commissioned hundreds of millions of dollars of original programming in Canada, with “dozens of commitments” in 2016 for Netflix original movies and TV series that will be produced in Canada.
[source]The Canadian Press[/source]