Fraser Institute: Netflix-CRTC Standoff Is Chance to Open Canadian TV System

The Canadian Press, October 8, 2014 | Go to article overview

Fraser Institute: Netflix-CRTC Standoff Is Chance to Open Canadian TV System


Fraser Institute: deregulate TV industry

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VANCOUVER - A new Fraser Institute paper suggests that the recent stand-off between Netflix and the CRTC provides an opportunity for the government to dismantle barriers that prevent open competition in Canadian television broadcasting.

A senior fellow with the Fraser Institute, Steven Globerman, says existing regulatory and legal barriers could be dismantled to relieve conventional broadcasters, cable and satellite companies of their Canadian content obligations.

He also advocates lifting restrictions on foreign ownership of Canadian broadcasters to allow for takeovers by more efficient businesses and suggests that Canadian cultural programming requirements should be left to the CBC-Radio Canada.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications is in the final stages of a major review of its policy framework for the television industry.

Netflix and Google refused to release some information demanded by the CRTC last month during two weeks of hearings on the future of television and the commission responded by saying it would remove their presentations from the public record.

The regulator had ordered Netflix to provide confidential information related to its business operations in Canada, including the number of Canadian subscribers and how much money it spent producing Canadian video content.

It had also asked Google to spell out the amount of content uploaded by Canadian users of its service, by how much it expected its advertising to grow and what advertising revenues it generated in Canada.

Both Netflix and Google had appeared voluntarily before the commission but said they had concerns about whether the information could be kept secret.

Netflix also questioned the authority of the regulator to impose demands on it, suggesting that the video streaming service did not fall under the Broadcasting Act since it is not a conventional broadcaster. …

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