Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez told a committee of MPs on Monday that the streaming bill would generate at least $1 billion a year for Canada’s creative sector, including programs. native program.
Rodriguez revealed the figure before the House legacy committee, which is working on bills to update broadcast laws and apply them to streaming services like Netflix and Disney Plus.
Some of the money will be used to support Indigenous and minority products, as well as French products from Quebec, Rodriguez said.
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Initially, the Department of Heritage said the streaming bill would generate about $830 million a year by providing streaming services with funding for Canada’s creative work, such as television broadcasters. current system.
Rodriguez said the amount would exceed $1 billion because — since his department did the initial calculations — many people have signed up for streaming platforms, such as Netflix.
Many other platforms, including Disney Plus, have also arrived in Canada, and they are becoming more and more popular during the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said some funds will support diverse programs, including in French.
“We will want to be able to hear more diverse voices. We want to hear more native speakers. Maybe we can do it with a mandatory provision. Maybe we can find other ways to do so—and look at official languages, and perhaps others,” he said.
“The money will be used for these purposes and it will amount to $1 billion a year.”
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The minister said the “strengthening of provisions to help Indigenous and racist Canadians” in the bill was one of the “great ideas” he had heard discussed in the committee.
MPs heard that the bill would also adopt some platforms to make channels like OutTV, which shows LBGTQ shows and movies.
At an earlier committee hearing, OutTV said several major foreign streaming platforms had refused to take on the channel and told them there would be no demand, something OutTV objected to.
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Peter Julian, the NDP legacy critic who highlighted OutTV’s issue at the committee, said $1 billion a year is a “significant amount.”
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Kevin Waugh, a Tory committee member, expressed surprise that it was so large and asked for more details on how it was calculated.
Thomas Owen Ripley, deputy assistant secretary at Canadian Heritage, said some of the $1 billion could be used to support Canadian productions including TV series, documentaries and programs for for children.
Ripley said that “just over $900 million” a year would come from the “spending requirement” in the bill that prompts streaming platforms like Netflix to spend a certain percentage of their revenue on Canadian productions, like traditional radio stations today.
He said traditional Canadian broadcasters currently spend just under $3 billion a year on Canadian programming, including news.
Ripley said Netflix already has “a substantial amount of production” in Canada, but “most wouldn’t currently qualify as a Canadian show,” under current definitions.
“Part of the motivation behind this bill is to get them to do more on the Canadian side,” said Ripley, including involving more “Canadian creations” and telling “more Canadian stories.” than”.
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Rodriguez said he would ask the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), the country’s broadcasting regulator, to modernize the definition of what would qualify as “content” Canada, including movies or TV shows, after the bill was passed.
The minister, in often tense exchanges with Conservative MPs, reiterated his assertion that the streaming bill would not affect people who upload videos to YouTube.
Rodriguez said the CRTC is not interested in regulating millions of people’s posts.
The minister said the bill would not include user-generated content and would only include commercial material. When the bill was introduced, Rodriguez said this could include a professional video played on Spotify that also appears on YouTube.
Rodriguez has faced persistent questions from Conservative MPs about the definition of “commercial” content with Rachael Thomas, the MP for Lethbridge, repeatedly asking him to put a number on it.
“What is the revenue threshold? Who’s in, who’s out? ‘ she demanded, accusing the minister of not answering her questions.
Rodriguez’s appearance was his second at the committee. Last week, he was forced to leave before he had a chance to speak while Tory and Liberal MPs argued over procedural issues, accusing each other of tactical delay.
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