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Proposed Changes To Canadian Law Could Cost Streamers $800M to Create Local Content

Fern Siegel

Canada has pushed a bill that would compel American streamers to pay for the production of Canadian films and TV shows.

The proposed change creates a new category — “online undertakings” — that targets streamers and broadcasters that transmit programs online.

Should Bill C-10, an amendment to the nation’s Broadcasting Act, pass, it will force foreign streamers, such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, to invest more than $800 million to develop, produce and distribute local content by 2023, reports The Hollywood Reporter.

Traditional broadcasters have also had to support Canadian music, while streamers were largely exempt.
Now, Steven Guilbeault, Canada’s Heritage Minister, wants the big streamers subject to the same regulations as the country’s broadcasters, which have recorded profit drops in recent years.

At a press conference in Ottawa, Canada’s capital, Guilbeault said: “We’re asking these large and wealthy companies to invest in Canadian stories, in Canadian music, in Canadian artists.”

Netflix reported revenues of $780 million revenue in Canada in the first nine months of the 2019 fiscal year, while the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission said the traditional TV sector had revenues decline on average by 1.8% per year between 2014 and 2018.

Canadian broadcasters and cable TV providers invest between 25% and 45% of their revenue in local content, depending on market share.

Streamers aren’t the only entities Guilbeault is eyeing. Separate legislation is expected to regulate internet giants, such as Facebook and Google.

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