Canada: CRTC to require online streaming services to bolster national broadcasting

In line with implementing the Online Streaming Act, the commission anticipates this change will commence in the 2024-2025 broadcast year, beginning this September.

5 JUN 2024

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The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has announced that online streaming services will be required to contribute 5% of their Canadian revenue to support the national broadcasting system. This decision marks a key step in the implementation of the Online Streaming Act, an amendment to the Broadcasting Act aimed at modernizing Canada’s broadcasting framework.

The Online Streaming Act, passed last year, mandates that the CRTC ensure online streaming platforms contribute to Canadian and Indigenous content. Following the adoption of this legislation, the CRTC embarked on an extensive regulatory process, including four public consultations to determine the base contributions from these online services.

During these consultations, the CRTC gathered over 360 detailed submissions and conducted a three-week public hearing with testimonies from more than 120 groups. The resulting decision requires online streaming services to allocate 5% of their Canadian revenues to the broadcasting system starting in the 2024-2025 broadcast year. This move is expected to generate approximately CAD 200 million (USD 146 million) annually in new funding. These funds will be channeled into critical areas within the Canadian broadcasting sector, including local news for radio and television, French-language programming, Indigenous content, and productions by and for equity-deserving communities, official language minority groups, and Canadians of diverse backgrounds.

Vicky Eatrides, chairperson and CEO of the CRTC, stated: “Today's decision will help ensure that online streaming services make meaningful contributions to Canadian and Indigenous content. The CRTC will continue to move quickly, listen carefully, and take action as we implement the new legislation.”

The CRTC, which functions as an independent quasi-judicial tribunal overseeing Canada’s communications sector, emphasized that streaming services would have some leeway in directing portions of their contributions toward specific Canadian television content initiatives.