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Foreign online broadcasters will have to contribute to Canadian content starting in September

Photo: Getty Images A 5% share of Canadian revenues from these major platforms will be earmarked to finance local news on radio and television, as well as indigenous, French-speaking or minority group content.

The federal government intends to extract $200 million from major online broadcasting platforms starting in September to finance local, French-speaking or Indigenous content in the country, announces the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) .

This is a first step for the implementation of the Online Streaming Act (C-11), which received royal assent in spring 2023. The CRTC indicated Tuesday that only online platforms which are not linked to Canadian broadcasters are currently affected.

A share of 5% of the Canadian revenues of these large platforms will have to be paid into different funds. This “core contribution” is intended to fund local news on radio and television, as well as Indigenous, French-speaking or minority group content. According to government calculations, this will total around 200 million per year.

“Online streaming services will have some flexibility allowing them to allocate a portion of their contributions directly to supporting Canadian television content,” reads the CRTC press release.

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Bill C-11 is a reform of Canadian broadcasting law which aims to make online platforms such as Netflix, Disney + or YouTube pay for Canadian content. The CRTC did not want to confirm on Tuesday that these specific platforms will have to go to the cash register in September, but the regulations indicate that these are those which make more than $25 million per year in Canada.< /p>

Social media, podcasts, video games and audiobooks are not included in the calculation. The CRTC regulations only address “online broadcasting”, such as professional music, films and television series.

The lion's share of the Canada Media Fund

The majority of the 5% contribution of the major platforms' Canadian revenue is allocated to the Canada Media Fund Canada (two percentage points), part of which could also be used to produce content directly in the country. 60% of funds must be allocated to support English-language content, and the remainder (40%) to support French-language content.

Of this contribution, one and a half percentage points must go to independent local news production, half a percentage point must go to the Indigenous Screen Office and the same share for diversity and inclusion funds and certified independent production funds.

For audio, recipients of funds include the Canadian Association of Broadcasters, the Canadian Community Radio Fund, Musicaction and the Fund Radiostar, as well as their English-speaking equivalents.

Saluted by the environment

Des Cultural groups welcomed the CRTC's decision on Tuesday, immediately after its publication.

“This important measure should make it possible, among other things, to ensure better support for local artists and their talents and thus ensure the influence they deserve,” we can read in a joint press release from five groups representing broadcasting artisans, including the Union of Artists (UDA) and the Guild of Musicians of Quebec (GMMQ).

“For more than a decade, foreign broadcast platforms have contributed nothing to the systems and structures that support our news and stories. The decision taken today by the CRTC marks the end of their impunity,” writes the pressure group Friends of the Canadian Media.

Another major part of broadcasting reform concerns the promotion, or “discoverability,” of Canadian content on platforms. ADISQ Executive Director Eve Paré described the process as having now reached the “halfway point,” and calls the next step, which concerns obligations to promote Canadian content, “just as fundamental.”

CRTC officials did not want to give details on when we will see these new obligations for the platforms during a technical information session with the media, Tuesday. The timetable provides for implementation of C-11 over several years, including a consultation in spring 2025 to better define what Canadian content means.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116