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CRTC Declares: Netflix is Not an Online Broadcaster

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Speculation was abound a few days ago that Netflix Canada would be slapped with broadcast fees. The argument was that TV broadcasters pay local content production fees and that it is unfair that Netflix doesn’t. Here is a very interesting follow up to this story.

CRTC Declares Netflix is Not a Broadcaster

CRTC chairman Konrad von Finckenstein declared the following just prior to an annual summit event on Friday:

“It’s not broadcasting, within the Broadcasting Act,”

The CRTC chairman referenced a 2010 Canadian appeals court decision to come to the consensus that Netflix only distributes content online, and is not actively involved in the content. Until laws are amended, online streaming services such as Netflix will not fall into the definition of a broadcaster.

So it looks like Netflix Canada will be exempt from broadcaster fees, as the words comes straight from the CRTC’s mouth. The Netflix model maintains its low price based on high membership and low margins.

Did you hear that? I did–Canadians coast to coast just let out a collective sigh of relief.

[Hollywood Reporter via @kenseto]

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  • Anonymous

    You mean the CRTC did something right? The world must be ending!

  • bl

    Probably didn’t finish his sentence. “For now” was missing.

    Probably what will happen:

    Bell/Rogers win the bandwidth fight – no change
    Bell/Rogers lose the bandwidth fight – everything changes

  • Yukontina

    A pleasant reprieve from the CRTC’s always anti-consumer decision-making.

  • N Hooper

    This is good news for Netflix but I do not even get Netflix because the movie selection on Netflix Canada is horrible! At least the CRTC did not make another anti Competition decision. I still think the CRTC should be abolished!

  • Anonymous

    Wait the crtc didn’t do what the best interest for bell/rogers?. Usually they love screwing Canadians to the max,as long as they get their kickbacks from huge corporations.

  • Tcatcrb

    I enjoy using Netflix and find the selection continues to improve with more movies and tv shows to choose from. As we know licensing issues are never quickly sorted out but it is good to see they are working on it and trying to bring more to their customers and without trying to rob us blind like the big 3 do

  • Boricacid

    Also to add to Tcatcrb’s comment, the more subscribers Netflix has, the more budget it has to go ahead and improve its movie selection. It’s not rocket science… at least in theory. I subscribed to their service since they’ve come to Canada and I do discover some nice lesser-known movies. I decided to keep it at least for a year and then reevaluate whether or not they are improving their catalog enough to my liking or not.

    I want this business model to succeed, therefore this is where my money goes.

  • Boricacid

    Also to add to Tcatcrb’s comment, the more subscribers Netflix has, the more budget it has to go ahead and improve its movie selection. It’s not rocket science… at least in theory. I subscribed to their service since they’ve come to Canada and I do discover some nice lesser-known movies. I decided to keep it at least for a year and then reevaluate whether or not they are improving their catalog enough to my liking or not.

    I want this business model to succeed, therefore this is where my money goes.

  • Sorry to disagree, but after the one month free trial and seeing nothing remotely new or of interest, I am not interested in providing them with seed money for a year to see if they ever get decent content. It may not be rocket science but it is business and business has to provide something consumers want. Do you go to a clothing store, buy crappy clothes, and figure one day all the money you give them for their crappy clothes will encourage them to have better clothes in the future? I think not.

  • A Keschvari

    Let’s see how long it takes them to put in a bill to have the law changed.

  • Anonymous

    You would, if it was the only store in town.

  • KnightFire

    No, I wouldn’t, I’d buy from another town.

  • KnightFire

    Actually I think the CRTC is following the letter of the law but not the spirit of the law – perhaps this is a ploy to make the public angry and get the government to change some laws? Just a thought.

  • Anonymous

    @Knightfire

    So you’re willing to leave Canada to get better streaming content? Hardcore man!

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