In response to a slew of recent stories that have surfaced over the past couple of months questioning whether Netflix Canada should be regulated by the Canadian Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) in the same manner in which over-the-air broadcasters such as Bell Media, CBC, Rogers and Shaw are, this TV Addict wanted to get something of his chest.
The CRTC was created in 1976 with the mandate to regulate broadcast and telecommunications. And while there is no arguing that the CRTC does play an important role when it comes to regulating stuff [Editor’s Note: I’m in no way propurting to be an expert in the area of telecommunications!], there is one thing we are sure of: The internet doesn’t need the CRTC. The democratic nature of the internet has made stars of a small kid from Stratford Ontario, a group of Montreal based foodies who didn’t meet a mealtime they couldn’t turn epic/a> and a photogentic dog FindMomo, among thousands of others. In short, the CRTC has no business regulating the internet because Canadians are already killing it!
Which brings us to the question surrounding what role, if any, the CRTC should play in Netflix Canada.
First and foremost, unlike the likes of Bell Media, Rogers and Shaw — all of which built their billion dollar businesses on the backs of federally licensed broadcast spectrum that they swallowed up and consolidated over the better part of three decades — Netflix hasn’t relied on any such government handouts! Also unlike Bell, Rogers, Shaw and the plethora of other cable companies who don’t seem to have a problem with charging their hard-working customers upwards of $100 per month, Netflix costs a $7.99 a month. Crazier still, because the government agency that is supposed to be in place to protect Canadian consumers — yes we’re talking to you CRTC — does little to nothing to curb the criminally low bandwidth caps that said aformentioned companies use to make even more off us via internet fees, Bell, Rogers and Shaw et al actually make money off the average Canadians streaming Netflix!
And if the above reasons aren’t enough to welcome Netflix into Canada with open arms, here’s another one: Netflix is already supporting the Canadian economy! Unlike Bell, Rogers and Shaw which have had to basically be mandated to kick in a few dollars here and there to fund Canadian productions with the help of the Canadian Media Fund, Netlfix voluntarily injects millions thanks to Canadian based productions like HEMLOCK GROVE, TRAILER PARK BOYS, THE KILLING and more.
That said, in the end, it all boils down to this: Regulating Netflix Canada would force the CRTC to regulate all of the other ways in which Canadians are streaming entertainment online. Fun Fact: Despite its accolades, awards and buzzworthy roster of homegrown shows, Netlfix is just the tip of the iceberg. Statistically speaking, YouTube surpasses Netflix in terms of viewership, particularly among the younger generation. So unless the CRTC is prepared to regulate the hundreds of thousands of hours my cousins spend watching mindless Minecraft videos online, or fill us in on what exactly the appeal of Twitch is, Canada’s Television and Telecommunications Commission might be best to reserve their energy for regulating the traditional TV behemoths they helped build.