Broadcasters call for CRTC to regulate streaming services

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.

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