Netflix will reportedly commit at least $500 million over the next five years to fund original Canadian content, according to a report stemming from the CBC.
An official announcement is said to come on Thursday from Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly as part of a speech regarding her vision for the future of Canadian content.
This would potentially benefit both Netflix and the federal government. Traditional television providers have been pressuring the Canadian government to impose a levy on the popular streaming service that would potentially contribute to the Canadian Media Fund (CMF), commonly referred to as a “Netflix Tax.”
As it stands, Canadian broadcasters such as Bell and Rogers are legally required to spend a certain amount on programs of national interest (PNI) and French-language content. The minimum expenditure requirement was reduced to five percent back in May.
However, Joly expressed concerns that slashing this number would discourage companies from putting more money into PNI and French-language content.
“Canadian broadcasters and creators are at the centre of the broadcasting system, and at a time when our competitive advantage rests on creativity, they must be positioned to succeed,” Joly said at the time.
Joly continued by stating she wants to ensure that there is “the right balance of investment in content and in the ability to compete” in Canadian production.
It’s believed that the money Netflix plans to contribute to Canadian productions would not involve a contribution to the Canadian Media Fund. The CMF receives its money from the Canadian government and traditional television providers such as Bell, Rogers, Cogeoco, Telus and Vidéotron.
It’s unclear if this financial commitment will actually affect the amount of content Netflix produces beyond what the streaming service already planned to create in Canada over that time period. The announcement will also bring into question how Netflix defines Canadian content and whether the streaming service’s productions will meet Canadian audio visual certification office (CAVCO) and Canadian radio-television and telecommunications commission (CRTC) requirements.
MobileSyrup will have more on Netflix and the Canadian government’s impending announcement on Thursday.