Canadians should prepare for an assault on their streaming platforms, courtesy of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) and their disastrous Online Streaming Act (Bill C-11). Instead of championing consumer interests and nurturing economic growth and innovation, the CRTC seems hell-bent on unleashing a torrent of restrictions that could cripple both.
For the next three weeks, the Commission will hear from various stakeholders, including Candian digital and legacy creators and American tech companies like Netflix, Meta, Disney+, and consumer groups. A whopping 127 parties are set to face off before the CRTC.
What is the bill’s centerpiece? Content quotas – It gives the CRTC vast power to force content on platforms the Commission deems Canadian. Ostensibly, this is supposed to protect Canadian culture. Still, in reality, it’s a one-way ticket to consumer dissatisfaction and economic disaster.
Content quotas mean less variety and fewer choices on popular streaming platforms. Say goodbye to the diverse array of content that makes streaming so appealing. Not only does this trample on the freedom of choice for consumers, but it also tosses a grenade into the competitive market dynamics that have fueled the streaming industry’s rise and popularity. Suppose the regulatory burden on companies is hurting the business case for media companies. In that case, they might choose to abandon the Canadian marketplace.
The CRTC’s heavy-handed intervention could spell disaster for the Canadian streaming industry. The CRTC risks scaring away direct foreign investment and smothering innovation by shackling it with restrictive regulations. Ultimately, this could lead to a shrinkage of the industry, sabotaging its ability to compete.
To sum it up, while the CRTC might think it’s doing Canadians a favor by promoting Canadian content, the Online Streaming Bill is a wrecking ball aimed straight at consumer choice, affordability, and the economic potential of the industry in Canada. It’s time for a reality check and a more sensible approach that leaves Canadian consumers alone. They don’t need their government to decide for them what to watch on streaming platforms they pay for.