CRTC: Netflix Not a Broadcaster; Broadcast Industry Begs to Differ

CRTC: Netflix Not a Broadcaster; Broadcast Industry Begs to Differ

Let’s play a little game. One of these things is not like the others: CBC, CTV, Global, Netflix.

If you guessed Netflix, you win. In the eyes of Canada’s telecommunications authority, the CRTC, Netflix, which allows viewers to stream video content via their computers, Blu-ray players or game consoles, isn’t considered a “broadcaster.” But some industry groups think it should be.

Part of being a broadcaster in Canada means that you’re obliged to support Canadian programming. It’s right there in the Canadian Broadcasting Act: “each element of the Canadian broadcasting system shall contribute in an appropriate manner to the creation and presentation of Canadian programming.”

Practically speaking, this means that Canadian broadcasters are required to give a percentage of their annual revenues to organizations like the Canadian Media Fund, which helps pay for new Canadian content. Basically, if you want to run a TV station, you need to help pay for Canadian TV programming. Broadcasters have to do this.

But here’s the thing: the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission doesn’t consider online video streaming services like Netflix to be broadcasters, so they can distribute movies and TV shows without the same requirement to help fund new Canadian productions.

Excerpt from Dan Misener’s article on Click here to read the full article.