Mélanie Joly confident French-language content won't be overlooked with Netflix deal

Herbert Rhodes
September 30, 2017

Netflix Canada will be the first production entity of its kind established by the streaming platform outside the US.

Following the agreement, Netflix will create a new Canadian-based studio where it will create and produce original, Canadian content to be streamed on its global service.

"Our goal is clear: As a government, we have a core responsibility to continue to protect and promote our stories and our culture", Joly said.

Earlier this week, more than 270 members of Quebec's creative community called on the Canadian government to regulate digital players such as Netflix, Facebook and Google, none of whom are subject to local regulatory measures. According to the government, this deal is the biggest investment in Canadian content from a foreign company in 30 years.

Most of their content is produced outside of Canada.

The company has largely avoided the requirements put on Canadian content producers by the country's government.

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The Canadian performers' union welcomed the Netflix deal but noted the company has not had to abide by the same regulatory rules as Canadian broadcasters.

The trend started in 2012 two years after Netflix began offering streaming services in Canada - and is expected to accelerate over the coming years, said the Convergence Research Group, which authored the study.

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. In return, there will be no new taxes on streaming services or ISPs.

Canada's Heritage Minister, Melanie Joly, said the deal "signals a meaningful partnership in supporting Canadian creators, producers and Canadian creative work, and in bringing that work to millions of viewers around the world".

Joly did not mention a dollar figure in the announcement.

Netflix has invested in Canadian originals shows such as mockumentary Trailer Park Boys, which it revived after Showcase dropped it; Discovery Channel's Frontier; Showcase copro Travelers; and CBC's Anne and Alias Grace.

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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