Media Beat
Media Beat

Media Beat: October 04, 2017

Why Canada's new cultural policy will be terrible for the Arts

Creative Canada promises nothing short of an epochal “transformation in how we view culture and creativity.” The stakes are indeed enormous: the resulting policy will influence how Canadians get our information, determine the fate of the nation’s most important cultural institutions, and shape the contours of the Canadian imagination for decades to come. What Minister Joly has delivered, however, is a paean to Silicon Valley, a gift to American technology firms, and a vision of Canadian culture as governed by web analytics and productivity tools. Creative Canada is all media and no message, a cultural policy that reflects little of Canada and none of our culture — Ira Wells, The Walrus

Mélanie Joly and the politics of Netflix

The Liberal government's vision for Canadian content and cultural industries in the digital world goes through a big dose of Netflix. But how will that work? CBC’s Chris Hall sits down with Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly to talk about her strategy on the pubcaster show, The Hall.

Culture & media coalition takes on Joly’s cultural roadmap

Approximately 40 organizations representing hundreds of thousands of Canadian have signed a declaration that argues Minister Joly’s Creative Canada roadmap is an attack on our cultural sovereignty.

“Why should Netflix, a U.S. company that reported earnings of more than $9 billion last year, get special treatment? Does the government really believe negotiating a "bilateral" agreement with an American multinational is a sound way to "protect and promote our stories and our culture"? Does it not see it is setting a dangerous precedent? What are the parameters for Canadian content? Francophone content? We are asking the agreement negotiated behind closed doors be made public so taxpayers can see its provisions.

“The Trudeau government is breaking with the past rather than maintaining continuity of the public support and regulatory framework that have made the development of cultural and media ecosystems in Quebec and across Canada possible for the last 50 years.

Overlooked sectors
“And what about the other sectors?

"Apart from the slap in face to print media ("Our approach will not be to bail out industry models that are no longer viable") as well as online content distributors competing against Netflix, the proposed vision does nothing to address the future of other major components of the communications and cultural sectors, including musical creation, production and dissemination; the book industry as a whole; and regional media and local news. A transition plan into the digital era is certainly necessary, but not at the cost of our cultural sovereignty!

Seeking to initiate constructive dialogue with the government on this issue
"Seeing the extent to which the vision set out in Creative Canada bodes poorly for the future of Quebec's, and Canada's cultural identity, the Coalition for Culture and Media intends to continue to seek a dialogue with the federal government to ensure it understands the issues and consequences of its current and future actions. When Minister Joly visits select cities across Canada on her upcoming tour, we will take advantage of the opportunity to share our concerns with her and submit a list of questions and recommendations" — full text here

Netflix Canada and the misleading claims about "level playing fields"

According to critics, Netflix has an unfair advantage because it faces no mandatory contribution requirements, while broadcasters and BDUs both face regulations that require contributions (30 percent of revenues for broadcasters, 5 percent of revenues for BDUs). The critics argue that the Netflix investment in Canada is below either percentage.

The most apt-comparison to Netflix is not to a broadcaster or BDU, but rather to competitive online video services. These services, whether Canadian or foreign, are all subject to the same requirements, namely no mandated Cancon contributions. For example, Bell’s CraveTV, which largely promotes U.S. programming such as Seinfeld and the Sopranos, does not face any Cancon contribution or spending requirements. In fact, the CRTC even created another “hybrid” model in 2015 that allows for distribution through BDU systems and the Internet without any Cancon requirements — Michael Geist’s Blog

Teletubbies’ owner DHX Media up for sale

Canadian kids producer DHX Media, which last year bought a controlling stake in the Snoopy and Charlie Brown character brands for US$345M, has put itself up for sale.

Halifax-based DHX Media, which also has the Teletubbies characters in its stable, said it has launched a search for strategic alternatives, to include a possible sale of the company or a merger — The Hollywood Reporter

Google spikes free-article requirements on publishers

Google is ending a decade-old policy that required publishers to provide some free stories to Google users.

Publishers had been required to provide at least three free stories a day under the search engine's previous policy, called "first click free." Now they have the power to choose how many free articles they want to offer readers via Google before charging a fee — Associated Press

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