Despite the criticism, Netflix highlighted its investments in local content creation during public hearings at the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) on Thursday. The company was trying to dissuade the federal agency from forcing the digital giants to, as they hope, hand over some of their profits to Canadian media.
The CRTC hearings, which run through next week, will focus on developing a new regulatory framework that must accommodate large digital platforms. During their testimony, Netflix executives acknowledged that it was normal for their company to be part of Canada’s regulatory system. However, they argued that it should not be made dependent on basic financial security.
Bell Media proposed during hearings last week that digital platforms would be required to invest in a new fund that would finance news production in the regions. However, the world’s leading video-on-demand provider does not see why it should be required to contribute to a fund from which it cannot benefit, since Netflix does not produce news programs.
“We invest in countries where the regulatory environment is simple, sustainable and flexible,” concluded Dean Garfield, vice president of public policy at the California-based multinational.
France, the counterexample
Mr. Garfield cited South Korea and Spain as role models, two countries that produce series with international influence for Netflix without necessarily having particularly strict laws on local content.
Even if this results in successful series, e.g lupine Or The Bettencourt affair, According to Netflix, France, with its mandatory tax rate of 5.1%, is the example not to follow. The streaming service’s leaders have suggested such a post could prevent them from continuing their current efforts in creating Canadian content.
“We hope that the CRTC will consider the unintended consequences of an inadequate mandatory contribution. We have the opportunity to make Canada a global leader in entertainment. And our experience shows that it is the countries with the fewest rules that are most likely to stand out,” added Stéphane Cardin, director of public policy at Netflix Canada.
Efforts in Quebec
The American company is proud to have financially supported various initiatives in recent years. However, these are essentially English-language. Netflix, which has offices in Toronto and Vancouver, has of course acquired a few Quebec productions recently, but has so far only ordered one Quebec original film. Until the downfalla 2020 feature film. The listening service also funded the recording of comedian Mathieu Dufour’s show at the Bell Center last year.
“I worked at a production company in Quebec for five years before joining Netflix. I am very familiar with the unique system that exists there. We have several series, documentaries and films in French in the works,” assured Tara Woodbury, head of Canadian content, praising the recent agreement between Quebec box Attraction and Netflix for the development of feature film projects.
MMe Woodbury, a former Sphere Media employee, spoke exclusively in English during her presentations. Stéphane Cardin, a French speaker, is the only person who said a few words in French during Netflix’s hour-and-a-half hearing before the CRTC. However, the company’s Canadian public policy director spoke English in almost all of his speeches.
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