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Canada taps Netflix amid review of TV, arts policy in online era

30 September 2017

The Minister of Canadian Heritage and Netflix have signed an agreement that creates Netflix Canada, a first-of-its-kind production company for Netflix outside of the U.S. The streaming company will also work with Canadian creators to produce content in both English and French. Of the $400 million, for instance, $25 million will be specifically allotted for French-language content, according to Variety. Critics have said more should be done to ensure domestic content does not disappear. Canadian media companies would like to see Netflix subjected to the same regulations, but the government is not imposing them on the streaming service in the new policy.

"With Canadians increasingly turning to the Internet to consume content, it's a smart move for the federal government to embrace a digital future for Canadian culture", said advocacy group OpenMedia's Katy Anderson.

Ottawa had been under pressure by Canadian broadcasters to impose a tax on Netflix, akin to fees paid by broad casters, that could be used to fund Canadian programming.

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"Today's announcement affirms there's more to come as Netflix launches Netflix Canada, our permanent production presence in Canada", Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos said in a statement.

"We simply want Netflix, Amazon and others to play by the same rules as Canadian media and not take money out of Canada without contributing to Canadian programming", said Suzuki, a popular broadcaster and environmentalist.

"It looks like Netflix's submission [to Canada's cultural policy consultation] was swallowed whole and presented as something new, when it isn't", argued television critic John Doyle in a piece for Canadian news site The Globe and Mail.

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Mélanie Joly, minister of Canadian heritage, announced Thursday the creation of "Netflix Canada" - a partnership that hopes to benefit Canadian creators and culture.

The company has already co-produced a handful of Canadian television series with public broadcaster CBC and others, including Anne, based on the novelAnne of Green Gables, and Canadian author Margaret Atwood's Alias Grace.

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Canada taps Netflix amid review of TV, arts policy in online era