When you sit down to watch Netflix at night, you probably don’t think much of it. Over the past few years, Netflix has been rubbing Canadian cable companies the wrong way as it isn’t considered a broadcaster and as a result doesn’t have to follow the same rules. One of the big rules specifies that Canadian broadcasters must dedicate a percentage of their earnings towards investing in Canadian content. Rumours of a Canadian Netflix tax have been swirling off and on as well, presumably to take place of Netflix’s lack of investment in Canadian content compared to Canadian broadcasters. Yesterday, Canadian Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly announced a $500 million (Canadian) investment by Netflix in Canadian content over the next five years.
“The Government of Canada is committed to growing our creative industries with new investments that create opportunities for creators and producers across the country to make great content that stands out,” said the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage. “This agreement – the first of its kind in the world – will ensure the investment of more than $500 million in original production in Canada in both official languages. It 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.”
The $500 million in original productions in Canada over the next five years would be through the newly created Netflix Canada production company (not to be confused with Netflix Canada the service).
“Fans around the world are already falling in love with Netflix originals produced in Canada,” said Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s Chief Content Officer. “Today’s announcement affirms there’s more to come as Netflix launches Netflix Canada, our permanent production presence in Canada. We look forward to continuing our work with Canadian talent, producers, broadcasters and other local partners to create Netflix originals in Canada for many years to come.”
The Netflix agreement includes, among others, the following undertakings by Netflix:
- Establishing a permanent, multi-purpose film and television production presence here in Canada, the first time that the company has done so outside the United States.
- Investing at least CAD $500 million over the next five years in original productions in Canada that will be distributed across Netflix’s global platform. As part of this investment, Netflix will continue to work with Canadian producers, production houses, broadcasters, creators, and other partners to produce original Canadian content in both English and French.
- Supporting Canadian French-language content on the Netflix platform through a market development strategy for Canada. Centered on a CAD $25 million investment, this strategy will include “pitch days” for producers, recruitment events and other promotional and market development activities.
- Ensuring that Canadians and Netflix members around the world find Canadian films and television shows on the Netflix Service by highlighting and promoting those productions on its global platform.