Apple and Netflix make up chorus of streaming giants questioning early payments for Canadian content

The companies say the commission needs to define Canadian Content before any payments can be made

Leading global streaming services have raised objections to their potential regulation direction in Canada.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has begun a consultation process to implement a framework for Bill C-11. The Online Streaming Act became law in April and, once implemented, will govern streaming services, requiring them to display Canadian programming (Cancon) and pay for its creation.

Amazon, Netflix, Apple, Disney, and Spotify are among the more than 300 parties to submit comments on the matter. All five companies raise objections to having to pay an “initial base contribution” for Canadian content without the CRTC defining what Cancon means. The contribution amount is based on revenues streaming services get from Canada.

“There is no evidentiary foundation that would justify a new revenue-based contribution requirement for online undertakings,” Amazon stated in its filing.

Netflix wrote the commission should reject such an approach because it will apply existing requirements to online undertakings. “That would be entirely inconsistent with a modernized regulatory framework,” the statement reads.

“Any contribution requirements need to be properly impact-assessed with a clearly-defined aim and be in line with the principles of proportionality, flexibility and fairness.” Netflix continues the CRTC’s current process doesn’t align with this notion.

Apple stated parties included in the regulation wouldn’t know what requirements the CRTC is debating, given its decision to discuss the definition of Canadian programming at a later date.

“This does not accord with the procedural requirement for parties to know the case they have to meet,” Apple said in its submission.

Interested parties have until July 26th to provide comments.

Source: CRTC