Rogers wants Canadian content contributions from foreign streamers to support broadcasters

Representatives from Rogers made the comments during the second week of the CRTC's hearing on Canadian and Indigenous content under the Online Streaming Act

Rogers wants Canada’s telecom watchdog to exclude streaming services associated with Canadian broadcasting groups from initial contributions surrounding the Online Streaming Act.

Known as Bill C-11, the act mandates foreign streaming services to rules and regulations, including regular investments in Canadian content. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) is in the second week of a three-week public hearing focusing on how the framework could support Canadian and Indigenous content.

Part of the hearing focuses on how much streaming services should contribute to such content. Rogers has called for the figure to be two percent in its proposal but has noted it could be higher to ensure it addresses the impact of foreign streamers on the Canadian broadcasting system and the financial burden they face.

Pam Dinsmore, vice president of regulatory cable at Rogers, told the hearing the initial contribution obligations should be focused on foreign content, as they haven’t been subjected to financial contributions before. Online streaming services affiliated with Canadian broadcasters should be discluded. 

“Imposing incremental requirements on affiliated online services at this stage is entirely inappropriate,” Dinsmore said during the hearing. 

“The initial base contribution should apply to foreign and unaffiliated Canadian online undertakings that are having a material impact on the Canadian broadcasting system.”

The company has proposed applying this to online video services, which make $50 million in annual revenue, and online audio services, which make $25 million in annual revenue.

Rogers also proposes an interim fund to support local news, stating that 30 percent of the initial contributions from the video and online undertaking should go toward this.

Rogers’ statement at the hearing bears similarities to Bell’s. The organization also called for the creation of a news fund and stated that any initial financial contributions shouldn’t apply to streaming services owned by Canadian broadcasters. For Bell, that meant Crave.

Also, like Bell, Rogers notes the changing landscape of local news, calling it a “crisis.” However, the company’s opening remarks fail to note its recent layoffs, including one in October that impacted a CityNews Ottawa radio station.

Image credit: Shutterstock 

Source: Rogers/CRTC

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