Netflix doesn’t want to pay into Canadian Media Fund

Being forced to pay into funds is discriminatory, company says

Netflix says it shouldn’t be forced to pay into funds that are designed to support the creation of Canadian content, arguing that the country is better served by market competition than by regulating foreign online services.

The California-based company makes the argument in a submission to a government-appointed expert panel that will make recommendations for changing Canada’s laws governing broadcasting and telecommunications.

“Numerous online distributors offer an abundance of content, including Canadian content, on demand, anywhere and any time to anyone with access to the open internet,” the Netflix submission says.

“We do not subscribe to the theory that a “regulated investment” is more valuable than a consumer and market-driven one.”

RELATED: VIDEO — Netflix Canada plans biggest price hike yet as rivals step up

The 30-page submission, made public Friday, says Netflix is on track to “significantly exceed” a $500-million commitment to fund original content made in Canada under a five-year agreement announced in 2017.

The paper, dated Jan. 11, is one of many submissions to the expert panel, which is expected to complete its review by Jan. 31, 2020 — after the next federal election in October.

Although the panel hasn’t made the full collection of submissions public, some groups have released theirs — often in support of positions that have been made in previous public debates.

Stephane Cardin, Netflix director of public policy, said Friday that the company decided to release its position paper ahead the 2019 Prime Time conference next week, when it will be on a panel with groups that had disclosed their positions.

Netflix argues that foreign online services such as itself would face unfair discrimination if it’s forced by law to pay into the Canadian Media Fund, which it says currently denies it the same rights as Canadian-owned broadcasters and distribution companies.

“For certified CanCon, the Canadian broadcaster obtains “first-window” rights in Canada while Netflix, or another online service, gets international rights outside Canada and possibly second-window rights in Canada,” it says.

If foreign online services are required to contribute to the CMF without getting “first window” rights in Canada, Neflix says, it would be discriminatory.

“It would also effectively force foreign online services to subsidize Canadian broadcasters, and reinforce the market power of vertically-integrated incumbents.”

Alternatively, it says, if foreign services had equal access to the CMF “they would be drawn into competing with Canadian broadcasters or VOD services for the Canadian first window rights for publicly funded original Canadian content.”

When asked by The Canadian Press whether Netflix was calling for an end to the Canadian Media Fund, where Cardin was a vice-president for 12 years, he was unequivocal.

“Absolutely not,” he said. “We do not say that, nor do we advocate for it.”

Netflix noted that it faces increased competition from other foreign and Canadian video-on-demand services, including Bell Media’s Crave subscription service, and the newer ad-supported CTV Movies and CTV Throwback.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, which receives funding from the federal government and advertisers, has also launched its new Gem online service to provide live and on-demand programming.

Netflix said it’s not trying to get special treatment under Canadian tax laws, and noted it will begin collecting and remitting a Quebec sales tax in January 2019.

“We will comply with tax laws if and when they legally are extended to services like Netflix,” it says.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Fires still burning near Telegraph Creek

BC Wildfire Service assures residents of a proactive plan heading into wildfire season

Northwest entrepreneurs pitch their plans for cash prizes

ThriveNorth announces 12 finalists in this year’s business challenge

Gas prices spike in northern B.C. ahead of the long weekend

Fuel went up 17 cents overnight in Prince Rupert

Cyclist braking stigma on addiction from coast to coast

Mathew Fee aims at world record for longest distance on BMX bike while sharing his story of recovery

VIDEO: Alberta man creates world’s biggest caricature

Dean Foster is trying to break the world record for a radio show contest

Kirkland Signature veggie burgers recalled due to possible metal fragments

Recalled products came in 1.7 kg packages with a best before date of Apr. 23, 2019

Chaos at the ferry terminal for people heading from Vancouver to the Island

Easter crowds create backlog at Tsawwassen ferry terminal

Parents of 13 who tortured children get life after hearing victims

One of their daughters fled their home and pleaded for help to a 911 operator

Flooding, climate change force Quebecers to rethink relationship with water

Compensation for victims of recurring floods limit to 50% of a home’s value, or a maximum of $100,000

Storms blast South, where tornadoes threaten several states

9.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia at a moderate risk of severe weather

Private cargo ship brings Easter feast to the space station

There are three Americans two Russians and one Canadian living on the space station

Notre Dame rector: “Computer glitch” possible fire culprit

The fire burned through the lattice of oak beams supporting the monument’s vaulted stone ceiling

Northwest B.C. leaders divided over oil tanker ban

Senate hearings in Prince Rupert and Terrace show Bill C-48 is at a crossroads

Most Read