Rogers Wants 2% Rev Share from Online Streamers Towards Broadcasting

During the Broadcasting Notice of Consultation held today, November 28, 2023, Rogers outlined its vision for a modernized regulatory framework in the Canadian broadcasting sector. Below is a summary of what Rogers said according to the company’s stance on Bill C-11.

Senior Vice President of Regulatory Affairs at Rogers, Dean Shaikh, led the presentation, joined by key executives such as Colette Watson, Susan Wheeler, Cynthia Wallace, Pam Dinsmore, and Peter Kovacs.

Shaikh stressed the importance of the Online Streaming Act in shaping Canada’s broadcasting regulations, stating, “The passage of the Online Streaming Act – and its implementation by the Commission – presents a long overdue path to modernizing Canada’s broadcasting regulatory framework.” He emphasized the need to minimize the regulatory burden on Canadian broadcasters and broadcasting distribution undertakings (BDUs) to boost their strength and viability.

Watson reflected on the legacy of the Canadian broadcasting industry, remarking, “For more than 50 years, Canada’s broadcasting industry – in partnership with the Commission – has built a world-class system that boasts a diversity of content choices delivered over robust networks.” She highlighted Rogers’ role in this evolution and their commitment to shaping the future of broadcasting.

Rogers acknowledged the challenges faced in competing against global streaming giants, citing a regulatory framework that has not evolved with the industry. Shaikh pointed out, “For over a decade, traditional broadcasters have been forced to compete against unregulated global streaming giants under old rules that are no longer in step with our operational and competitive realities.”

In terms of contribution, Rogers proposed a 2% initial base contribution for online streamers, which would include the likes of Netflix and more.

Shaikh explained, “Our proposal is specifically designed to be an initial investment by foreign and unaffiliated online undertakings in the Canadian broadcasting system.” This proposal aims to reduce the financial burden on Canadian ownership groups and create equitable competition.

Addressing the applicability of this new framework, Dinsmore said, “Online streaming services that are affiliated with Canadian broadcasting groups should be excluded from initial base contributions.” Wheeler added, regarding the allocation of contributions, “We support directing 30% of online video and audio undertakings’ initial base contributions towards an interim News Fund accessible by all private TV and radio stations producing news.”

Shaikh concluded with, “We have proposed a constructive approach that is consistent with the objectives of the Act and the Policy Direction.”

Last week, Bell told the CRTC panel something similar, noting it wanted the creation of a news fund to help existing broadcasters, with money coming from foreign streaming services.

Bill C-11, known as the Online Streaming Act, is being strongly opposed by consumer advocacy groups such as OpenMedia, which argues against the CRTC having regulatory authority over online streaming platforms such as YouTube, Netflix and more. OpenMedia says Bill C-11 is too vague and gives the CRTC too much authority that could manipulate streaming algorithms to favour Canadian content. Even Google says Bill C-11 is bad news for YouTube, as the legislation could alter user feeds.

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