Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Regulator Hits Delete Button on Netflix and Google Submissions to TV Hearings

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Regulator Hits Delete Button on Netflix and Google Submissions to TV Hearings

Article excerpt

CRTC to ignore Netflix and Google submissions


OTTAWA - Canada's broadcast regulator is hitting the 'delete' button on Netflix and Google, telling the online video services their submissions at hearings into the future of television will be ignored.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission wrote to the companies Monday, saying it will remove presentations made by the two companies from the public record.

As well, any information or statements from the companies would not be considered in the CRTC's conclusions on whether television industry regulations need to be changed.

The letters were a response to the refusal of Netflix and Google to provide supporting evidence to back their claims that Canadian content is thriving online.

Effectively, it's as though the companies never offered any comments or appeared before the CRTC panel that has been looking into how Canadians receive and pay for TV programming.

The CRTC had promised both companies the same confidential treatment for their data as it gives all other sensitive information provided to it by other companies.

But Netflix in particular said it had concerns that its sensitive corporate information could eventually be made available to its competitors to exploit under a public interest test.

CRTC secretary general John Traversy said the companies' refusal to provide any supporting evidence means it cannot evaluate the strength of their arguments. And he said it undermined the authority of the regulator.

"The Commission views such actions as a direct attempt to undermine its ability to serve Canadians, as well as impair the procedural fairness owed to all participants," Traversy said in a letter to Netflix global public policy director Corie Wright.

A Netflix spokeswoman said the company would not be commenting on the content of the letter.

Meanwhile, Google said it saw nothing wrong with what it provided to the CRTC.

"We stand by the submissions we made in this process and believe we made a positive contribution to the discussion," a Google spokesperson said in a statement to The Canadian Press.

During two weeks of hearings earlier this month, Google said "compelling Canadian content succeeds online -- all without broadcasting regulation," and that "Canadian creators, both emerging and established are building global audiences and earning revenue without having to work through intermediaries. …

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