BY DOUG MURPHY, Pres. & CEO of Corus Entertainment
Canadians are enjoying more and more content in more and more places. All of us effectively have a TV in our pocket. As one of Canada’s largest broadcasters, Corus’s ambition is to connect audiences with world-class stories, brands and talent wherever they are.
Canadian broadcasting policy was written for an era of closed borders, one where television and radio broadcasters had a relative monopoly over audiences, and governments had a role to play as gatekeepers. That era is over. The policies that once supported and protected Canadian voices now risk restraining them, and need to change. If they do not, the future of Canadian media is in peril.
We know Canadians want flexibility, variety and access to great quality content. They want to tune in each night to hear what happened in their community that day. They want to watch home renovation shows filmed in their neighbourhoods and hear news about Hollywood celebrities and world leaders from a Canadian perspective.
Private broadcasters like Corus are the backbone of the Canadian content and media sector. But we face many challenges. Today, there are virtually no barriers to entry into our industry. Many massive, foreign, Internet-based media and content companies have unfettered access to our market, with more on the way. These international companies are fragmenting audiences, intensifying competition for programming, viewers, and advertising, while diverting revenues out of Canada.
These international companies generally do not collect Canadian sales taxes nor do they contribute to the Canadian content ecosystem. Corus is required to spend 30% of its annual broadcast revenues on Canadian programming. Netflix and others are required to spend nothing.
This situation is unsustainable and is the key issue underlying the latest review of Canadian broadcasting legislation. Encouragingly, Canadian Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez recently promised to take action.
Read more HERE.