In a not too distant past the telecom companies went after Netflix via the CRTC and very much at the expense of Canadians. Yes I try not to preach about Canadian issues since you readers are an international audience but I really can’t let this issue die. To quickly recap in the first assault on Netflix Canada the CRTC approved for Telecom companies namely Bell / Rogers and Shaw to charge extra for bandwith so that those of us who were giving up on regular cable for NetFlix for a fraction of the price of their satellite/cable service would still end up giving money back to the telecom companies. Really fair huh?
The latest in the Netflix fiasco is the Canadian Broadcasters are asking why the CRTC does not regulate Netflix since they are broadcasting into Canada. If the CRTC was to regulate Netflix it means that the content would change and be restricted to meet CRTC guidelines which in my simple understanding says a certain percentage of the content must by law be Canadian. Netflix would also be made to financially support Canadian groups that in turn are involved in producing Canadian content. CRTC head Konrad von Finkenstein says Netflix is not a broadcaster and frankly it’s the smartest thing I have heard him say since the CRTC allowed telecom companies to reach into my pocket and remove money from me for not using their cable/satellite service.
In my view you can no more call Netflix a broadcaster then you can Youtube. Youtube streams millions of videos into Canada every year I don’t see the CRTC, Broadcasters or Telecom companies making a moan over them. The reason that Broadcasters and Telecom companies are scared of Netflix is because it can hurt their bottom line.
The CRTC and the Canadian Broadcasting rules say that a certain percentage of time must be given to Canadian shows but further more a certain percentage of revenue must go to organizations that support Canadian producers and television. Netflix will stomp all over the Canadian competition because they are not governed by these rules and that means they offer viewers what they want, not what the CRTC or any other organization mandated.
I frankly as a Canadian think that everyone and everything should stand on their own merits. Just as my job is based off my skill and ability… or lack their of in many cases I think the CRTC and the rules on Canadian broadcasting are protectionist and frankly just wrong. If an organization was formed to protect Canadian baby swing manufacturers and they made an inferior product to the Americans or Australians would you feel right in being forced to buy them and support them? I am using a drastic example but it should make my point.
My next loaded question is why should broadcasters much less Netflix be forced to support Canadian TV shows? Broadcasters in my view should be allowed to put their money into programming Canadians want to watch whether it’s made in India, England or the United States. I for one believe that Canadians are talented enough that we don’t need to be propped up by an organization that makes it law to buy and support Canadian actors/directors/filmmakers/producers. If you can’t cut it then perhaps rather than having organizations forcing broadcasters to subsidize you, you should ask yourself why?
I watch Netflix and I do not watch them because the films are American / Canadian or other. I watch it because it is convenient, has a fantastic selection and is priced at a price that I can afford. I see no reason why Netflix should be forced to support Canadian content anymore then Broadcasters should be. So I guess what I am saying is the Broadcasters are wrong in asking why Netflix doesn’t have to pay into the Canadian game and would be better to ask ‘why do we?’.
You tell me do you agree with the rules on Canadian content? Does it seem like protectionism? Am I completely wrong in my thinking or do you agree? Lets discuss it!