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Yesterday, the Canadian government announced that Netflix would be spending $500 million on original Canadian content over the next five years. The investment is the cornerstone of the government’s Creative Canada plan. The popularity of Canadian content and storytelling is at an all-time high with the success of shows like “The Handmaid’s Tale” based on the novel by legendary Canadian writer, Margaret Atwood.

The CBC, Canada’s national broadcaster, reported:

“Internet streaming service Netflix will spend at least half a billion dollars over the next five years to fund original Canadian productions, CBC News has learned.

The funding will officially be announced tomorrow by Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly as part of a speech unveiling her vision for Canadian content and cultural industries in the digital world. It comes after months of public consultations, which were held last year.

The move could benefit both Netflix and the federal government, which has come under pressure to impose a tax on the service that could be used to fund Canadian programming.

Netflix has lobbied hard to avoid facing the kinds of requirements that traditional broadcasters in Canada have had to face for years.

Canadian broadcasters, for example, have to fulfil a quota of Canadian content they put on the air. They are also required to spend a percentage of their revenues to fund “programs of national interest” through contributions to the Canada Media Fund (CMF) — a requirement that was decreased to five per cent in a CRTC decision this past May.”

With the announcement may be a boon for Canadian content creators, reactions are mixed with some calling it a sweet deal for Netflix but not Canada. John Doyle of the Globe and Mail noted:

“It’s peachy that some creatives involved in Canadian TV and movies will have their work seen around the world via Netflix but that is neither new nor is it the rescue of Canadian TV that the federal government wants you to believe.

This is only a sweet deal for Netflix. Its estimated content budget for this year alone is $6-billion (U.S.). Investing $100-million (Canadian) a year to help out the production of TV and movies in Canada is the kind of figure Netflix shrugs off as the cost of doing business.”


Let us know what you think of the Netflix Canada deal in our comment box below.

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