OTTAWA — With large streaming services evading Canadian-content quotas, the public broadcaster is asking Ottawa for permission to put less Canadian content over its airwaves.
That has the media advocacy group Friends of Canadian Broadcasting calling on Ottawa to impose onto streaming giants the requirements conventional broadcasters already face.
“There’s an accountability and transparency problem,” said Daniel Bernhard, who leads Friends.
The CBC wants to lower the quota of local content in metropolitan markets like Winnipeg from 14 to 12 hours a week, with similar reductions for its French-language service, Radio-Canada.
CBC officials argued this accounts for the uptick in Canadian content it streams online.
“The manner in which the corporation provides its services is changing to meet the needs and interests of Canadians and in response to the evolution in how that content is being consumed,” reads the network’s November proposal to the CRTC.
Like all large broadcasters, CBC already files regular, detailed accounts to the CRTC of what content it airs on TV and radio, and how much it pays for original productions.
Yet the broadcaster doesn’t provide detailed information on its online offerings to the regulator.
That’s because of a 1999 order that counts online transmission of video and sound as separate from radio and television.
Bernhard has been lobbying the new government to park the CBC’s online offerings under the same standard.
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