Canadian Heritage Minister Melanie Joly has announced a government initiative to promote Canadian cultural productions and their export overseas, CBC reported, adding that the minister has called on global players like Netflix and Facebook to participate.
Some people within the industry as well as the political sphere would have preferred to see Canada impose a "Netflix tax", as France and Australia are doing, to inject development funds into the Canadian industry.
Canada outlined its vision for its cultural and entertainment industries on Thursday, promising more money to foster Canadian content at home and overseas and striking a deal in which streaming service Netflix would invest C$500 million to create programming in the country.
The $500 million in original productions in Canada over the next five years would be through the newly created Netflix Canada production company (not to be confused with Netflix Canada the service). Netflix Canada will collaborate with other Canadian production firms, broadcasters, and local talent to develop content in both English and French. This has raised concerns over the loss of Canadian content, worries over how to compete with streaming services and calls for streaming taxes - with the proceeds going to fund Canadian programming. It explained that, during the consultation, "many Canadian stakeholders asked about how new players can contribute to Canadian content". Over the past few years, Netflix has been rubbing Canadian cable companies the wrong way as it isn't considered a broadcaster and as a result doesn't have to follow the same rules.
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This will be known as Netflix Canada, a "first of its kind production company". The move represents the first permanent production studio outside of the USA for Netflix. In return, there will be no new taxes on streaming services or ISPs.
Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos said investments like this one would give Canadian producers and creators more access to financing, business partners and ways to connect with audiences around the world.
Joly did not mention a dollar figure in the announcement.
Netflix is already working with CBC Television to produce shows "Anne with an E" and "Alias Grace".