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Canada Gets $400 Million Netflix Content Pledge

1 Oct, 2017 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Canada has long been a hotbed for Hollywood TV and movie productions. Now the ruling Liberal Party under Justin Trudeau has promised to increase federal spending on Canadian cultural productions such as TV shows and movies earmarked for exportation.

In a twist, the Liberal Party wants tech companies such as Netflix and Facebook that have entered into content creation to help foot the cost. 

Speaking Sept. 28 at the Economic Club of Canada in Ottawa, Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly said Netflix had pledged $500 million (Canadian) over the next five years for local (French and English) content production. The subscription streaming video pioneer also promises to produce locally.

“Netflix will create ‘Netflix Canada,’ a permanent film and television production presence here in Canada. The first time that the company has done so outside the United States,” Joly said. 

Netflix’s Canadian productions (with the Canadian Broadcasting Company) so far have included “Anne With an E,” based on an adaptation of the 1908 novel Anne of Green Gables.

Canada has worked well for Netflix since it launched operations there in 2010. It has more than 5 million subscribers north of the border.

But in August Netflix quietly raised the basic plan price by $1 for new Canadian subs to $8.99; and $10.99 for the standard plan, which affords access to high-definition content and viewing on two separate screens at the same in the home. Netflix Canada’s premium plan enabling viewing on four screens simultaneously and access to 4K content increased $2 to $13.99 monthly.

Whether the price hikes played a role in Netflix’s fiscal spending is uncertain. But the topic is a sensitive one to Netflix — and didn’t go unnoticed by federal officials.

“As a government, we have a core responsibility to protect and promote our stories and our culture,” Joly said. “We want to make sure these platforms work for Canadians.”

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