Advanced Television

Broadcasters call for CRTC to regulate streaming services

April 15, 2011

Canada’s leading television companies are targeting Netflix and other online streaming services in an attempt to bring the fast-growing competitive threat to the TV business into the same regulations they must follow.

Senior executives for Astral Media said that documents have been filed with regulators seeking a review of the California streaming service’s ability to legally operate in Canada without paying a cent on broadcast licences and subsidy funds that finance the production of domestic content.

Netflix’s growth in Canada threatens to be slowed if the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) levels new fees on it, adding to the company’s costs – perhaps being passed on to its customers.

In addition, any outcome is sure to establish precedents for the treatment of all future online or over-the-top distributors, such as potential heavyweights Google and Facebook, who may consider introducing streaming services in Canada.

“The objective is really, from an industry point of view, to maintain a level playing field within the system,” Astral CEO Ian Greenberg said.

Categories: Articles, OTT, OTT, Policy, Regulation