Facebook will start charging sales tax on ads purchased through its physical offices in Canada, becoming the first technology giant to do so. The move has the potential to generate millions in revenue for government and will undoubtedly put pressure on other foreign-based streaming and digital giants like Netflix, Google and Amazon. By mid-2019, both Facebook and Instagram will charge GST as part of a previously-announced move toward a local selling structure in countries where the company has an office to support sales to local advertisers. Thus far, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has taken a steadfast stance against taxing foreign-based digital media, saying he doesn’t want the tax passed on to consumers. Read the full story here.
Facebook has rolled out its Watch platform globally, a year after the free platform was first launched in the U.S. The social network has been ramping up its investment in original content, with reports its planning on budgeting $1 billion (USD) over the next 12 months. Original series released on Watch include docuseries Bear Grylls: Face the Wild, talk show Red Table Talk with Jada Pinkett Smith, and Canadian offerings Grade A Kitchen (5 x 10 minutes), Family of Champions (5 x 10) and Pixville Nightly (5 x 10), produced in conjunction with Blue Ant Media.
Amazon Canada says it’s doubled the number of Amazon Prime subscribers in the last 18 months. The service has introduced a monthly membership option of $7.99/mo, an alternative to the existing annual membership of $79. Prime in Canada includes unlimited access to Prime Video, access to over one million songs on Prime Music, unlimited photo storage with Prime Photos and Twitch Prime. Amazon is currently offering a 30-day free trial. Meantime, the company has hired former ESPN vice-president Marie Donoghue as VP of Sports Video as it builds the sports broadcasting side of its streaming offerings.
YouTube is about to revoke the ability to skip ads on the platform. It announced the news in a video to its Creator Insider channel entitled “Want to earn more money from ad revenue?” The move comes on the heels of Spotify’s test in Australia, allowing its users unlimited ability to skip ads, refunding advertisers who get skipped.