Canada Loosens Local Program Quotas in Age of Netflix Streaming

No Reason to Think Canadian TV Can't Succeed Like Arcade Fire, Regulator Says

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A regulator said there was no reason Canada can't be as successful in TV as Drake has been in music. Drake starred in one of Canada's best-known TV shows, 'Degrassi: The Next Generation.'
A regulator said there was no reason Canada can't be as successful in TV as Drake has been in music. Drake starred in one of Canada's best-known TV shows, 'Degrassi: The Next Generation.'
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Canada's communications regulator is reducing quotas for how much nationally produced programming must appear on TV, as more consumers watch content via broadband Internet through providers such as Netflix.

The Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission will reduce program requirements for broadcasters during the day, Jean-Pierre Blais, the CRTC's chair, said in prepared remarks for a speech in Ottawa.

"Radio begat television, television begat cable and satellite, and broadband internet has changed everything," Mr. Blais said.

Canada has regulated TV content since the 1960s, with the goal of protecting the country's culture from being swamped by Hollywood productions. The new rules also require broadcasters to invest some of their revenue in Canadian shows.

"There's no reason to think that our television productions can't reach the same lofty heights as musicians such as Drake and Arcade Fire," Mr. Blais said.

The CRTC is changing its stance as more Canadians go online for their entertainment. Netflix, which entered Canada in 2010, is available along with offerings from domestic companies BCE and Rogers Communications, the country's two biggest cable companies. About 4 million Canadians have signed up for Netflix's service, Adam Shine, an analyst with National Bank of Canada, has said.

The investment requirement won't apply to Netflix, said Denis Carmel, a CRTC spokesman. Netflix, which has 57 million subscribers in about 50 countries, has produced original programs such as "House of Cards" and "Orange is the New Black."

~ Bloomberg News ~