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November 17, 2023 3:11 pm  #1

Could Netflix Leave Canada Over Bill C-11?

I've expressed this fear in previous posts - what happens if one of the big (and very popular) U.S. streaming services threatens to take their toys and go home rather than yield to Canada's Bill C-11, which is designed to bring streaming under the same rules as Canadian broadcasters?

That's the exact question ex-CRTC vice-chair Peter Menzies ponders, as he previews upcoming Commission hearings beginning next week, designed to offer the big players a chance to have their final say on the looming law. He suggests the CRTC may not like what it hears - and by extension, Canadian viewers, too. 

Some examples:

"More than half the streamer’s 30-page submission is dedicated to detailing what it is already contributing to Canada.

-$3.5 billion in investment;
-Thousands of jobs created;
-Consumers are 1.8 times more likely to watch a Canadian production on Netflix than they are on a licensed TV network;
-Le Guide de la Famille Parfaite, one of many Quebec productions it funded—was in Netflix’s global top 10 for non-English productions for two weeks.

"Netflix is insisting on credit for what it already contributes. It has no interest in writing a cheque to the Canada Media Fund and takes serious umbrage with the CRTC’s assumption it will...

"...the Commission is entirely unprepared to deal with the harsh truth that offshore companies don’t have to play by its rules. For decades, primary CRTC hearing participants have been dependent on the regulator. In the case of broadcasters like CTV and cable companies such as Rogers, their existence is at stake. Without a license, they are done. Which means they have to do what the Commission wants. 

But if the regulatory burden the CRTC places upon the offshore streamers doesn’t make business sense to them, they are free to say, “Sorry Canada, the juice just isn’t worth the squeeze. We’re outta here.”

A frightening prospect and as we've seen with Meta and Facebook news links, it could happen. Stay tuned. The next few weeks could be a very interesting time.

Peter Menzies: How the CRTC could kill Netflix in Canada—All in the name of ‘modernizing’ broadcasting


November 17, 2023 3:44 pm  #2

Re: Could Netflix Leave Canada Over Bill C-11?

The current board of the CRTC is found here ....

Peter Menzies is not listed anywhere

On his Linkedin page it shows him as being Vice Chair from Jun 2013 - Jul 2017 4 years 2 months

After that in 2019 he is with the right wing Macdonald–Laurier Institute.


November 17, 2023 4:28 pm  #3

Re: Could Netflix Leave Canada Over Bill C-11?

Peter Menzies is a well respected figure in the media world. He was in his time at the Commission and still is a sharp judicator with balanced values and common sense. The CRTC should value his input.


November 17, 2023 4:56 pm  #4

Re: Could Netflix Leave Canada Over Bill C-11?

Yes, meant to put "ex" but in my zeal to post, I missed it. Thanks for the clairification. 

The point being that he's been there, done that. I suspect he knows the way the Commission works. If he's worried about the law of unintended consequences, he may have good reason. Perhaps, we should be worried about it, too. I suspect Netflix will reluctantly accept most of what they're being asked to do, but it all depends on just how big the CRTC ask is. 

     Thread Starter

November 21, 2023 8:04 am  #5

Re: Could Netflix Leave Canada Over Bill C-11?

I've made no secret of my opposition to Bill C-11, but in the interest of fairness, the president of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters pens an op ed in The Star about why he believes the legislation is not only a good law, but also a necessary one as the industry changes.

"Today, with abundant competition from unregulated foreign players for audiences’ attention and subscriber dollars, the landscape is vastly different from when the Broadcasting Act was last amended in 1991. We’re talking about a time of “appointment TV,” Blockbuster Video and the Sony Walkman, when most Canadian households did not have a personal computer, let alone internet access."

Broadcasters need urgent change to antiquated rules that favour foreign streaming services

     Thread Starter