Tuesday 30 September 2014

Canadian content

Suppose that you're a government agency charged with ensuring that the greatest number of Canadians get to hear Canadians' own stories.

And suppose some new technology came in allowing Canadians, for a low monthly fee, to stream and watch whatever they might want.

Would you:
  1. Try to make it really really easy for that company to licence Canadian content, so that Canadians and everybody else might get a chance to see it?
  2. Hassle the company and demand that they subsidise the production of Canadian content?
If you're the CRTC, well, they've picked option 2
During CRTC hearings on the future of Canadian television regulation, both companies argued they shouldn't be subject to CRTC regulation, which would force them to be licensed, host a quota of Canadian content and subsidize Canadian television production.

Google and Netflix argued they stream and produce plenty of Canadian content without the CRTC looking over their shoulders.

Both refused to hand over their Canadian content and subscriber information to the CTRC to back up those claims.

"The Commission cannot carry out its duties based on mere anecdotal evidence," the CRTC wrote. "As a result, the hearing panel will reach its conclusions based on the remaining evidence on the record."
I note that Netflix recently lost streaming access to The Kids in the Hall. But Trailer Park Boys still features prominently.

Wouldn't it make more sense for the Canadian government to hit the back catalogues of everything the Canadian government has helped to fund, from The Beachcombers through Degrassi and KITH and everything in between, and help Netflix to get the bundle of rights to allow for streaming? They could also make it a condition of every future funded TV show that the streaming licence is available to all-comers at a reasonable price? If the objective is to ensure maximum dissemination of Canadian content, shouldn't that be the approach?

Netflix doesn't have to run a Canadian outlet. They could kill the official Canadian version, then simply fail to notice that a pile of Canadians sign up using geounblocking services and a 90210 zip code.

1 comment:

  1. I think the 90210 zip code covers the rest of the globe outside of the US