Briefing

CBC may step back from Netflix co-productions

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Catherine Tait, the corporation’s president and CEO, said the CBC “won’t do deals that hurt the long-term viability of our domestic industry,” pointing out that in her view, global media companies like Netflix profit from the Canadian market without sufficiently contributing to it. (Financial Post)

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Talking point: The move comes as Netflix ramps up its activity in Canada—the company launched a Toronto production hub in February; in September, it said it had fulfilled its promise to invest $500 million in original Canadian productions three years ahead of schedule. But that figure included productions that don’t fit the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunication Commission’s definition of Canadian content, such as the Adam Sandler film Murder Mystery, which was filmed in Canada but which was produced by and starred Americans. The heart of the issue is that Netflix isn’t obligated to pay Canadian sales tax and isn’t governed by the same rules as domestic producers. Other major media organizations like Bell and the Canadian Media Producers Association want it to pay the tax, but Netflix has argued its voluntary commitments to fund Canadian content—such as its $25-million partnership with Indigenous organizations—should exempt it from that responsibility. The situation could change after the October election—the Liberals and NDP have said that they would impose a tax on the company, while Conservative leader Andrew Scheer has hinted at the same.