With the adoption of Bill C-11, the Online Streaming Act, the CRTC has shared its plan for upcoming public consultations to ensure online streaming services make meaningful contributions to the creation of Canadian content, similar to traditional broadcasters.
The commission has also clarified that the Act will not apply to YouTubers; influencers or individuals making content on social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram; podcasters making content carried on audio streaming platforms like CBC Listen or Spotify; and producers making content sold to online streaming services like Netflix, in addition to all video game content.
The CRTC will launch a series of public consultations over three phases – with the first phase to start in the coming days – beginning with consultations on contributions to the Canadian broadcasting system, considering who should contribute, how much and how. The first phase will also consider which online streaming services will need to be registered with the CRTC as well as exemption orders and basic conditions of service.
Phase 2, slated to get underway this fall, will review fees paid by broadcasters and how they should be extended to online undertakings. It will also engage stakeholders on definitions of Canadian and Indigenous content, ahead of a full public consultation that the commission says may include assessing tools to support Canadian audio content and developing and promoting Canadian and Indigenous content on all platforms. The public consultation would also evaluate market access, news and local programming, and competition as well as ways to protect consumers, including broadcaster codes of conduct and complaint mechanisms.
Phase 3, estimated to start in late 2024, would focus on implementing any policy decisions.
The commission says the plan is subject to regular updates as it adapts to future policy direction. The CRTC has reiterated that it has no intention to regulate algorithms or censor content. To that end, it has published a “Myths and Facts” outline, noting that each online streaming service will continue to make its own decisions on how to market and sell their services in Canada based on their own business models and plans.
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