Canucks push for Netflix rules

Group of TV execs lobby CRTC

Senior executives from some of Canada’s leading broadcasting and TV production companies are urging the federal broadcast watchdog to impose regulations on Netflix in Canada.

The broadcasters have to work around a slew of Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission rules, notably including stipulations that they support local production financially, while Netflix, which expanded to Canada in September, is exempt.

The CRTC decided in 2008 that though it considered new-media to be within its jurisdiction, it was not ready to set rules and regulations for the Internet.

But execs from Astral Media, Bell Canada (which owns CTV), and Rogers Communications, which owns the City-tv channels, are now lobbying for regulators to make Netflix subject to the same rules that govern their biz.

It was revealed late last week that the group sent a letter to the CRTC in early April asking the regulator to change its approach to new-media players like Net-flix, which offer content on DVD by mail and, increasingly, online. Netflix argues against regulating content on the Internet.

It’s clear that broadcasters and cable operators fear that they will lose revenue as Netflix continues to gain market share.

“The objective is that we maintain a system that is a very positive and strong element in terms of our Canadian culture, identity and economy,” said Astral Media chairman Andre Bureau.

Netflix recently pacted with Paramount to carry the studio’s movies and shows before they air on TV in Canada. It also acquired exclusive rights to the drama series “House of Cards,” which stars Kevin Spacey and will be helmed by David Fincher.

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